The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

No Muss No Fuss Starter

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

No Muss No Fuss Starter

I thought I would make a post on how I keep my starter for those who have an interest in doing the same.  My method is based on several wants.  First, I don’t want to maintain or feed a starter for up to 16 weeks.  Second, I want to keep as small amount of starter as possible so that I can bake a loaf of bread each week using a bit of it and still have it last 16 weeks.  Thirdly, I want a starter that is sourer and has a higher LAB to yeast ratio than the normal 100 to 1 found in most starters.  Finally two more wants, I don’t want any waste and I want to make any kind of bread with it.

To get these characteristics I make a stiff (66% hydration) whole rye starter in the 100g range and keep it in the fridge.  Stiff is relative, since many breads are made with this hydration but mine tend to be quite a bit more wet than 66%.   I take a small bit the starter each week and when it gets down to 10 g or so I build it back up using a 3 stage starter build.  As follows:

 

Build

1st

1st

 

2nd

2nd

 

3rd

3rd

 

 

Seed

Flour

Water

Total

Flour

Water

Total

Flour

Water

Total

H2O

10

10

10

30

20

20

70

40

16

126

65.7%

8

8

8

24

16

16

56

32

13

101

66.1%

6

6

6

18

12

12

42

24

10

76

66.6%

I usually build the 101 g total line for my 1 loaf of SD bread a week.  The first two feedings are 4 hours each at 100% hydration and the starter should double 4 hours after the 2nd feeding.  I it doesn’t then toss the 2nd feeding total amount in weight and redo it.  The final 66%hydration is accomplished by using much less water for the 3rd feeding.  Once the starter rises 25% in volume after the 3rd feeding, that is when you refrigerate it for its long term storage.

Make sure you are maintaining 80 -84 F while building the starter.  This is the temperature range that suits yeast reproduction rates and the LAB will still be out reproducing yeast at that temperatures.  What happens, over weeks of storage time in the fridge, is that the starter will become sourer as time progresses.  The bread it makes after 8 weeks in the fridge is worth the wait.

But, like most things it is relative and the resulting bread isn’t too sour either.  If you want really sour bread do some of the following at 94 F – build the starter, levain build, gluten development, bulk ferment or final proof after shaping.  I like using a small amount of starter to build a levain amount under 10%, a very cold bulk ferment, counter warm up and a 94 F final proof when I’m going for a really sour bread.

Now, to get this small amount of starter to last for 12-16 weeks you want to make bread with a small amount of it to build the larger levain you want for the bread.  Here is a chart to use for 800g of dough (1 loaf for me) that can be used for different times of years, various ambient temperatures, how much time you have (faster or slower process needed) and how much sour you want for the time you have.  Making a 3-5 day loaf of retarded bread in the summer is much different than making 1 day SD bread in the winter.  I like to retard dough to bring out its full flavor and fit my schedule better.  So in the warm summer, I use half the levain that I might in the colder winter months to get a 12 hour retard into the process.  To get more sour in a 1 day (after a 12 hour levain build process), I might use 30% levain (the 240 g line) to speed things along and still keep some of the sour I want.  Here is a chart to use for various levain builds for 800 g of dough using this starter.

 

 

 

First

First

 

2nd

2nd

 

3rd

3rd

 

Dough

 

Build

Build

 

Build

Build

 

Build

Build

 

Weight

Seed

Flour

Water

Total

Flour

Water

Total

Flour

Water

Total

800

3

6

6

15

11

11

37

22

22

81

800

4

8

8

21

17

17

54

33

33

120

800

6

11

11

28

22

22

72

44

44

160

800

7

14

14

34

28

28

90

55

55

200

800

8

17

17

41

33

33

108

66

66

240

The method of the levain build remains the same – (3) 4 hour builds.  If the levain fails to double 4 hours after the 2nd build then toss the 2nd build weights and redo the 2nd feeding.  I usually refrigerate the levain for 24 hours after it rises 75% -100% after the 3rd feeding to bring out more sour and fit my schedule. 

If you mill your own flour and or have a sieve, you might consider sifting the whole grain flour and use the sifted out hard bits to feed the levain.   He levain seems to love these hard bits and getting them wet for a longer period will help to get these hard bits as soft as possible potentially resulting in better spring, bloom and a more open crumb.  I even do this with sprouted, dried and milled whole grain bits but build less levain as these grains are on steroids already and might turn the dough to goo if trying for a 12 hour retard.

For the 3 stage starter and the levain builds it might take 8-12 hours in the summer if your kitchen is a warm as mine and more than 12 hours in the winter if you don’t use a heating pad.   You can make any bread with this starter and levain method by using the flour you want for the levain build.  Use white flours for white breads and various whole grains for bread with whole grains in them.  Any combination of levain flour works -  at least for the more than 100 varieties of bread I have made with it. Without any maintenae of the starter or throwing any starter or levain away.     

Happy SD baking the No Muss No Fuss way!

aroma's picture
aroma

.....and now I use this technique exclusively.  Beautiful loaves with good oven spring especially when using Very Strong Canadian Flour (white and wholemeal).

Thanks dabrownman.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

tied to a starter maintenance schedule for 16 weeks and still be able to make fine bread the easy way!  Glad you like it and

Happy SD baking

BobS's picture
BobS

Thanks for a very clear, informative post.

Low-stress, no-waste is where it's at.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

all stess and pure waste as a Baking Apprentice 2nd Class like I do, anything else low stress and no waste in baking is a real blessing,  glad you liked the post,

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

When you take the small amount out each week, do you give the remaining starter a mix or just leave it relatively undisturbed?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

stirring is required plus, if you did, then Lucy would consider it a muss, a fuss or both:-)  I guess , since I'm retired, I would consider stirring some kind of work..... and work of any kind is to be avoided at all costs!  OK  now you made me feel bad.... so maybe I will stir it at the 8 week mark just to stay a little bit more active and less sedentary:-) 

Happy SD baking.   

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

Should help a lot of people

Small point of note . . . . totals for first build in 2nd table are very slightly off (having de ja vu here). Either the totals or the individual seed amounts. It's just a tiny thing though, so much that I hesitate to muss or fuss about it . . . but some peeps might be confused ;-)

ATB

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

A gram here, a gram there and the next thing you know it adds up to real dough:-)  Nice catch.

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

Not quite there yet. . .

line 2: 4+8+8 = 20 not 21
line 4: 7+14+14 = 35 not 34
line 5: 8+17+17 = 42 not 41

BXMurphy's picture
BXMurphy

This is my new motto as an inexperienced baker! It's what I love about sourdough - it gives me such freedom! Man, I can go about my business, retard if necessary, and pick it up where I left off. Yes, I have to work on my technique and let the dough tell me what to do but with a good eye and a bit of experience and confidence, brother, I can't go wrong!! Thank you, dabrownman!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

need a lot of that!  There are so many different ways to make bread it is hard ti decide which one combination to use plus there are thousandsoif different breads to choose from.....I am always amazed at what comes out of Lucy's pantry and the oven.  

Glad you liked the post

GregS's picture
GregS

Great post dabrownman! How big is the container in the photo? Is that a measuring cup next to it?

GregS

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

that has doubled and ready to add to the dough for a loaf of bread.  The container is a used Pillsbury store bought frosting container for cakes that comes with a plastic lid - not shown.  The container holds 454 g of water.  I use it because it will hold 240 g of the risen levain for 2 loaves of bread if i am making that amount - pretty rare around here now a days.  What is next to it is a Pyrex 150 ml measuring cup.  The 120 g of levain shown would fit in a 1 cup measure but it would be pretty full.  Glad you liked the post and

Happy SD baking Greg

tom scott's picture
tom scott

Just browsing thru & printing this post to begin using.  Many thanks.  I use plastic containers from Chinese carry outs.  2 Sizes: 46r gr & 840 gr.  The larger I keep bulk flours not used often - like semolina and also nuts, seeds, etc.  The smaller I use for the starter.  My wife, being Chinese orders out every so often, especially if she thinks she hasn't cooked enough for guests.  I have a great supply.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

won't eat it out or order it in so so containers from there:-(  They do eat it up when I make it at home though.......Lot of chopping in Chinese cooking and a good way to sharpen your knife skills!  I bet your wife makes some fine Chinese food - wish mine did too:-)

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

it is just getting my head around how I will do this - as much as I am itching to bake again, I have a backlog in the freezer so must eat some of it first. This means I probably will bake only every 10 -14 days. Your post is most helpful, as always,  so I will try this and see how it goes for me.  Do you always go down to such a small remnant before you rebuild the mother starter? 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

at 12 weeks there is still around +20 g left of the 100 g starter max I keep.  But this is when I really start to watch it too.  The only time I have a problem with the starter being too weak to double a levain in 4 hours after the 2nd feeding is 12 weeks and after.  If I have to repeat the 2nd feeding for the levain in any week I refresh the starter too.  What makes this work is having the starter at its peak and able to double a levain after the 2nd feeding.  If it can't do that, then it is time to get it back to peak form.  The longest I have gone is 16 weeks before refreshing and the least amount left was after scarping the last of it out for a loaf of bread at 12 weeks,  I just mixed in the first feeding of flour and water in the not totally empty container to get the next batch going.  it is amazing how little left over starter it takes.   

I also cover the starter with plastic wrap inside the container so the top doesn't dry out in the fridge.  many folks just keep 10g or less of starter from 1 week to the next by pinching that much off their levain build for the week and saving it till the next week.  The only problem I have with that is that you can forget to pinch it off and loss your starter plus the long cold retard of the starter the no muss no fuss way really starts making great bread at week 8 or so from a sour point of view.

If you are only baking a loaf every 10-14 days, you could get by with 50-60 g of rye starter in the fridge and have that last 10- 12 weeks.

Happy Baking  

Nominingi's picture
Nominingi

I'm happy that you posted this again

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

I will save some typing when folks have starter questions and I can post a link back to this post like I do the YW Primer.  I'm getting more lazy as I get older:-) Glad you like it.

Happy Baking

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

and so today I added a layer of plastic film to my stored starter as I had noticed the top a little drier than the rest.  My starter (a white firm starter) consists of 20 gms starter +60 gms water+100 gms bread flour (1:3:5??) so I think this should be ok for a while, depending on how much I bake.  I was a bit worried about just taking bits off but the TFL posts have been reassuring so I will see I sucessful my bread is a few weeks down the track. My bread to date has been mild, but I am happy with that at this point and I will get more adventuresome as I go.  I have made a backup by drying a couple of spoons of the mother starter just in case it all goes wrong. :) Leslie

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

storing a stiff white starter this way so hopefully your test will be fine and you can report back how it goes.  My guess is that  maybe it won't last as long or it might last even better :-)  It will be interesting if you notice the bread each week getting more sour due to the long cold retard of the starter. 

Happy baking

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

I think the consensus is that a stiff starter lasts longer in the fridge than a wet starter. Makes sense if you think that a wet starter ferments faster.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

woud last lnger than a stiff rye one in the fridge - I wasnlt very clear on that.  A stiff white will last longer than a wet white one for sure.  In the old days, I had gallon of hooch to proove that:-)

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

 I had missed that "little"point about rye vs white stiff starters.  Next time I bake I will take a bit off and build a rye one and run them side by side for a while in the fridge and see which one I like better.

Does fridge temperature make a difference too? I think I read somewhere it should be 8-10oC but I think mine runs a little cooler about 5oC. will this affect yeast  viability over the long term?

 

 I certainly have success with the firm starter as opposed to the liquid one I had always tried and failed with in the past.  I should have read TFL earlier I guess but better late than never and the info and help from everyone is amazing - thanks for your patience.  

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

faster the wee beasties will reproduce.  The more wee beasties, the faster they eat the food.  The faster they eat the food the less time you can store them before they are starving.  My fridge runs 2-3 C.  I always convert the small amount of stiff starter to a liquid levain at 100% hydration during the 3 stage build before it goes into the dough at its very peak.  No sense putting weak levain in dough.

The reason i store the starter stiff is that LAB and yeast both love the wet for reproduction and less wet means less activity so the food lasts longer.  Stiff is relative though since many breads are made at  65-67% hydration with no problem.

Liquid levain should work as well as stiff ones in bread making so long as they are at their peak.  Storing liquid starters at higher temperatures just means that you have to feed them all the time with huge discards if you don't bake with them every day.  So much of how you keep and maintain a starter depends on how much you bake and how sour you want your bread to be.

Storing a stiff white starte should work but I just donlt know how long it will last in teh fridge before it weakens to the point of having to refresh it.  I'm guessing a whole rye one will last a bit longer but how much is what you will answer with your experiment.

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

well earlier this week I attempted to convert some of my starter. I did a build as you do for the 100 gm mother but got the timing wrong. I used 50:50 white:rye and it seemed to be ok until I fed it 100% rye.  smelt ok but did absolutely nothing. So today started again. I am about to do the 3rd feeding at 50:50. it seems to be ok at this point.  my question is how to proceed from here. should I do the same again tomorrow (it will be actually day after tomorrow as we are away tomorrow) or should I try again to do the next build with 100% rye or perhaps 25:75?

Should I refrigerate it until I am ready or feed 50:50 for another day?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

starter in the picture looks plenty active enough.  Each of the first 2 builds for the starter ( not the levain build chart) is 4 hours and they are each whole rye and equal weights of water.  It should double after the 2nd feeding or you toss the 2nd feeding and replace it   The 3rd build reduces the hydration with more flour than water according to the chart depending on what size 66% hydration whole rye starter you want to end up with.  About an hour after the 3rd stage feeding it should rise 25% and that is when you fridge it for stage.  If everything goes well, in 9-10 hours from start to fridge - not days?

If you are converting a white liquid starter to whole rye make sure it is at its peak before taking the small amount to use for the first build.  Sometimes white starters can go into a food shock shock when first being fed whole rye and you might have to repeat the 2nd stage build for it to double 4 hours after the 2nd build - still it should only be 13 - 14 hours total before hitting the fridge.  Make surre to dpo the builds at 80-84 F or it will take longer.

Happy SD baking

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

using this half rye starter (which worked as you said it would) but using only rye for the build.  thanks.

leslieruf's picture
leslieruf

This time it has all gone as you said - am about to refrigerate my new rye starter so will see how it goes along side the white flour mother.  thanks for your guidance (and patience!) 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Now you can compare the two to see if you need to keep 2 different starters or get along well with just one like I do.

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Thanks dabrownman, this was very helpful. I bookmarked this a while ago, but I've been looking at it again today and thinking about improving the strength of my SD builds and I like your 3 stage process. 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

of starter we keep in the fridge.  Lucy will be using the last of it today and will have a bit left to refresh a new storage batch - only 10 weeks old instead if 16:-) We like the 3 stage process for starter and levain builds.  Better to be  sure the SD is ready to do its job and at its peak for performance.  Plus this gives you plenty of time and builds to convert the rye to what ever levain you want for the bread you are making,

morahb's picture
morahb

Wow this is absolute Chinese to me! I'm a true beginner so I have no idea what hydration or pretty mich anything on that chart means!!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

2nd nature to you.  Hydration is just the ratio of how much water you have in the dough compared to how much flour is in the mix.  The flour is always 1 (or 100%) and the water is the percent of water to flour.    A 68% hydration dough is ,68 of 1.  So if you have 1000 g of flour  a 68% hydration dough would be 1000  times .68  = 680 g of water for 1680 g total flour and water.

If you want to make a bread that is 1200 g total at 70% hydration you just divide 1200 by 1.7 (1 flour+.70 water) = 706 g of flour leaving 1200-706 = 494 g of water. If you divide the 494 g of water by the 706 g of flour you get 70% hydration. 

This makes recipes easy to make and pass on to others.  If you see a recipe for 70 % bread flour and 30% AP (the flour has to add up to 100%) and 73% hydration with 2% salt you know exactly how much of each ingredient to use based upon how big a loaf (or batch) you want to make.

If you want to make a 800 g loaf of bread, the flour would be 800 divided by 1.73 or 462 g and the water would be 800-462= 338 g of water.  The amount of bread flour in the total amount of flour would be 462 g times .7 or 323 g and the AP would be 462 -323=139 g.  The salt is also a % of the flour (like the water is 73% of the flour).  2% (,02) times 464 g of flour = 9 g of salt.

Who knew math would be so important to you all these years later :-)

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Hi morahb, dabrownman's table shows you how to take a tiny bit of sourdough starter and build it up over the course of 3 stages into a larger, very active amount that will be used in a formula to leaven bread. 

See the 2nd table in the original post. Look at the last row, where the "seed" is 8g and the final starter amount is 240g. This means that starting with 8g of starter, over the course of 3 feeds (in 12 hours) you can build a very active 240g of starter that is ready to use in your recipes.

What may not be obvious from the table is that the numbers represent weights in grams (g).

Here's another way to understand the last row of the 2nd table: 

  1. Take 8g of starter, mix with 17g flour & 17g water, stir to combine.
  2. Let sit at room temp for ~4 hrs. 
  3. Take the 41g of starter from Step 1, mix with 33g flour & 33g water, stir to combine.
  4. Let sit at room temp for ~4 hrs. (8 hrs elapsed time)
  5. Take the 108g of starter from Step 3, mix with 66g flour & 66g water, stir to combine.
  6. Let sit at room temp for ~4 hrs. (12 hrs elapsed time)
  7. You now have 240g of very active starter that is ready to use in your recipe. 

The advantage of this approach is that you can maintain a firm rye starter in your fridge without feeding for long periods, and then using just a tiny bit, build it up to a very active level and the desired quantity in a short period of time. 

smishgibson's picture
smishgibson

I have been reading on the freshloaf for months now, and first want to thank everyone for this wealth of information, and such a great community.  I really enjoy the atmosphere here and have learned more then I could have imagined there was to learn about bread.

dabrownman, I am so excited about using this method to bake sourdough.  So far, i haven't been very successful, and I realize why.  I haven't been using my starter at its peak.  I have pulled my started out and am going to do a discard and refresh (1:1:1)(the way I have been doing it), then I am going to take 8g of my starter and build your 100g starter build and stick it in the fridge.

When it comes time to build a levain, i am trying to overcome an issue with timing.  I typically work 8am-5pm monday - friday.  This means that if I wanted to build a levain on Wednesday, I would have to stay up basically all night to get to the end of the stage three build and be ready to mix the levain with everything else and create a dough. 

To get around this problem in the past and when using IY,  would do an 8 hour preferment(with a pinch of IY) at room temperature before I left for work, then autolyse this with the remaining flour and water for an hour when I got home, then add everything else, knead, bulk ferment, shape, proof bake. 

What would be my options for fitting this sort of SD levain into 'my during the week' baking? Perhaps I could:

* Build the levain on the weekend, and refrigerate about an hour after mixing the 3rd build, then pull it out about 2 or 3 hours before I needed it?

* Mix all the flour and water for the final levain side with a slightly larger seed and let it all set for the 8 hours I am at work?

* Don't be silly and try and bake during the week, keep it to the weekends? :-)

 

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

is that the fridge is your friend.  For those that have to fit work around their mid week baking schedule there are a couple of things to think about and several ways to approach it and two of them you have mentioned.

You can build the levain on Sunday and refrigerate it an hour after you do the last feeding, but that would mean that you have to not only wait for it to warm up but to finish its doubling too - maybe 3-4 hours before you want to use it.  What I have found is that if you let it double after the 3rd feeding, 3-4 hours after you feed it, and then refrigerate it it will be near enough to its peak for 24-48 hours and all you have to do is warm it up for a couple of hours as the dough flour and water autolyse..

Another way to do it is to mix up the seed and 3 feedings all at once and let it sit on the counter, or heating pad while you are at work.  If you have the heating pad at 84 F that will give you the best temperature for the levain and it might double in 8 hours instead of 12.  You may have to play around and experiment with the seed amount by increasing it a bit, to get the single stage levain to double in 8 hours rather than 12 if left on the counter while at work.

No matter how you build the levain once it hits the mix I take two hours with 3 sets of slap and folds and 3 sets of stretch and folds to develop the gluten.  So if you do a 2 hour warm up for the levain when you get home from work and 2 hours to develop the gluten you are at 4 hours total.  Adding that to a start time if 6 PM and you are 10 PM with several hours of ferment and or proofing to go.   No worries.  I don't do a bulk ferment and just skip right to shaping, bagging and retarding int eh fridge.

Then it can stay there until the next evening to bake after it warms up for a couple of hours if need be.  OR you could just chuck it in the fridge and let it bulk ferment in the bowl until 6 Pm the next day and then let it warm up for an hour, shape and proof for about 2 hours and bake it  at 9 PM the next night.  Either way will work.

If you want fresh bread in the morning to bake at 6 AM before work then you can up the levain a bit and get it proof, shaped in the fridge in 8-9 hours and be ready to bake cold after a short warm up on the counter as the oven heats up. 

With a little experimenting you should be able to figure pout a way to bake at night or in the morning during the work week -no worries.  . Don't forget about the no knead process  You could have the levain built the day before and while letting the levain warm up, you could autolyse the dough water and flour then mix everything up and let it sit on the counter overnight.   Then chuck it into the fridge before going to work to finish off the bulk work.  Then take it out of the fridge when you get home, shape it and bake it.  You could also shape it right before putting it into the fridge after the overnight counter ferment and let it final proof shaped in the fridge and just let it warm up when you get home to bake it.

Happuy Baking  

Jane Dough's picture
Jane Dough

Great post!

Thank you.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

and hope it will be helpful!

happy baking 

smishgibson's picture
smishgibson

Thank you Dabrownman, very informative post.  Sounds like there are many options and a near peak/peaked levain can be held for a period of time in the refrigerator without loosing its oomph.This week will be a time for much experimentation and fun!  I will try putting the levain the fridge right around the peak of the 3rd build, and I will also try a single build for 8 hours at 80-85f, the exact temp our oven will hold with the light on and a few baking sheets to confine the oven area to just the top 1 third of the oven.

I will report my finding.

Also as a after thought, I have been using WW flour for my starter, however I have often felt it had an "off" flavor.  I am converting it to AP KAF for now to see if it goes away, but would you recommend rye instead?  I have been wanting to experiment with small portions of rye flour in doughs to get some rye flavor, so maybe I will pickup a bag of whole rye.  Experimenting and learning is half the fun here for me, the other half of course is the fresh bread!!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

with whole wheat,from a small rye seed, according to Desem standards. I've never had a starter go off though and smell bad either.  <y favorite way to make a starter is the Mini OVen way of making a golf ball size dough ball with whole wheat at 66% hydration and then sticking it in a brown bag son that AP flour covers it. You just chuck it on top of the fridge for 7 days and poof - instant starter once you scrape out the inside that is still wet and feed it.  The fastest is Joe Ortiz's 3 day whole wheat, cumin and milk method .

I like a stiff whole rye starter because it is so easy to maintain in the fridge for 12 weeks ( no maintenance )  and it is ready to be built into any kind of levain in 12 hours.  It is always ready to raise a loaf.  Today's build is 120 g of whole spelt using 8 g of 5 week stored rye seed.    It's got 4 more hours to go:-)

Be happy not having to maintain a starter but one day every 3 months:-)

Jane Dough's picture
Jane Dough

I take my starter to work :(. 

And I bet I'm not the only one to do that.  But when I want to bake for something particular it's not a bad option for me.   Just means a bigger lunch bag that day. 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

baker if they take their starter to work.......... and to bed with them, not that I have ever done that of course :-)

Stu_NY's picture
Stu_NY

I am a complete newbie here so sorry in advance if this is a basic question but I haven't found in answer in my searching/reading. What is the purpose served by building the levain in multiple stages? I understand in this particular application you are intending to use a little bit of your mother starter and not have to replenish. But if you were fine maintaining your starter from week to week would there still be an advantage to building the levain in stages? I ask because I have been just adding about 15% of my starter to all the dough ingredients, mixing and letting sit out for 12 hours then proofing/baking. I bake about 3 times a week. Every week I add some flour and water to my starter in the fridge and it seems happy enough- well, for its six weeks of life so far : ) Is there a taste benefit to doing the levain in stages, and then adding to a autolyse of flour vs just letting the whole thing ferment/soak together overnight in one shot? Better oven rise or holes? I am using mostly fresh milled wheat if that matters.

Thanks!

Stuart

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

http://germanfood.about.com/od/germanfoodglossary/a/Detmolder-Three-Phase-Sourdough-Method.htm

This type of levain build also works for other flours as well.

If your method works for you then I say don't change a thing  The reason I do a 3 stage levain build is sometimes I want to take advantage of different hydration and temperatures at different stages to coax different flavors out of bread.

Butmost of the time I do so because of the way I keep my starter,  I can keep my small amount of stiff rye starter in the fridge for 4 months without any maintenance.  As time passes, the starter becomes more sour and the LAB start to over populate the culture when compared to the yeast - which makes for more sour bread    The 3 stage levain build ensures that the levain will be at its peak after the starter has been neglected for so long and ready to raise a oaf of bread as it should with the flavor profile I prefer at the time.

Happy baking 

Stu_NY's picture
Stu_NY

Looks like a great reason for the 3 stages, thanks so much for that- looking forward to giving it a go! Much to learn...

cgfan's picture
cgfan

Still very much an SD newbie, but my curiosity had me wondering about the logic of multi-stage levain builds.  i.e.: what is it about a 3-stage build that makes it more effective than, say, a larger single-stage feeding?  

Was thinking of this while stuck in rush-hour traffic when it suddenly dawned on me - could it be that each build/feed is acting like a Darwinian trial to select for the fittest buggers, with each successive feeding allowing them to contribute more and more to the final population than would a single, larger feeding?

Would appreciate your thoughts on this or links to any resources that discusses the whys to multi-stage builds.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

bunch of whole grain flour on it could overwhelm the poor wee beasties with a whole bunch if bad ones in the flour.  I found this out when I started making rye starter from scratch to make a loaf of rye 4 days later and you can prove it to yourself.  Take 40 g of rye and add  35 g of water to it.  Stir it every 4 hours and see what it looks like in 12 hours.  It could be nice and bubbly by then with no starter in the mix.

The other reason to do a 3 stage build is that it allows you to use different flours, liquids, amounts and temperature to produce a different kind of levain ....... like a Detmolder one.

I have done single and 2 stage builds often from NMNF starter but did up the starter amount by quite a bit.

Munch's picture
Munch

Hi! I am going to attempt this after failing countless times

. What is the temperature of your fridge? Thanks

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

What have you failed at so many times?  Making a starter or keeping it in the fridge?

sallam's picture
sallam

I've just started using this method today. I have a stiff starter that lived in the fridge for about 2 months without feeding. I've taken a 20g seed out of it and built a one-stage levain, by adding 80g water + 80g flour. Its been 5 hours now, and it has already reached double its volume (room temp is 81f/27c here today). Should I start using it in the dough now, wait until it triples, or until it starts to collapse?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

i say a 2 month old starter seed that was fed once at 1:4:4 is ready to go for all 3 - when it doubles, peaks or just starts to collapse  No worries.

I've been working on a another starter regimen that many Fresh Loafians use who also bake once a week.  Just keeping a small bit of 100% hydration, 10 g of doubled starter from this weeks bake, feeding it 3 g of flour, kneading it into a stiff dough and just storing it till next weeks bake as the seed for that levain build.  Works great wafer 4 weeks.  The bread just isn't as sour but pretty easy of you remember to take out the seed and stiffen it up each week..

Happy SD baking 

fusan's picture
fusan

for some time now. My starter is a little different since I use 50% hydration. It is still 100% Rye and I use this feeding method:

Lucy's MethodStarterWaterFlourTotalWaterFlourTotalWaterFlourTotal
New Levain50%Feeding 1100%Feeding 2100%Feeding 3100%
121612402424884848184
1520155030301106060230
1824186036361327272276
New Starter50%Feeding 1100%Feeding 2100%Feeding 350%
121612402424882448160
1520155030301103060200
1824186036361323672240

Its pretty much the same, except I convert to 100% hydration at the first feeding.

What differs from your method though is that my 2cond feeding rearly gets up to double size, but the 3rd feeding allways doubles within 2-3 hours and allmost tripples after the 4 hours. I tried to redo the 2cond feeding for up to 2 times, but it still would not raise to double. I also tried to wait for 6-8 hours and it does double eventually, but just not within the 4 hours.

Any idea why?

 

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

You mention that the 2nd feeding it rarely doubles but then springs to life on the 3rd feeding. But what happens after the first feeding?

Starters, once active, do get quicker.

This is a good way to go. More feedings do equal active starters. But I also find i'm able to make bread with starter taken directly from the fridge which has matured a week or two earlier. Providing I have enough in stock that is. So while a 3 stage feed can only be good one doesn't have to rely on it. I sometimes do one stage with the logic that if I can make bread with starter straight from the fridge then one stage will suffice, surely. But if i'm doing something extra special and have the time then i'll do a two stage build. It also helps if I wish to convert my rye starter into a preferment with some other flour.

My own personal rule is the flour that I feed my starter, for a preferment, should be equal to (or more) then the weight of the starter.

i.e. If I need 150g mature starter then i'll do as follows (or a variation of)

10g starter + 20g flour + 20g water [stage 1]

50g starter + 50g flour + 50g water [stage 2]

 

Or I could do...

10g starter + 10g flour + 10g water [stage 1]

30g starter + 60g flour = 60g water [stage 2]

 

Each time the flour the starter is fed is equal to or more than the weight of the starter. I like good healthy feedings.

fusan's picture
fusan

The first feeding is usually slower than the second.

When I think about it, Ive actually never been very succesfull with the Levain doubling within 4 hours after first or scond feeding. It has allways taken me 3 feedings raise the Levain to double within 4 hours.

Before I tried the Dabrownmans method, I fed it 1:1:1. I see you like to feed twice with one feeding at 1:2:2 and one at 1:1:1 Do your Levain raise to double within 4 hours? Do you belive that more Flour speeds up the proces? And last, why do you consider your starter healty with larger feedings?

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

a lot comes down to whim and time. The one thing I do follow is good feedings and by that I mean 1:1:1 or higher, that is all. Those were just examples. If i'm doing two feedings and my time is limited on the day of baking then I won't do higher then 1:1:1 on the day of so it peaks quicker and it still gets that good feeding. Then there is encouraging a tangy taste where 1:2:2 or higher will help.  I never do more then 1:3:3 unless i'm topping up my mother starter in the fridge. Hope this makes sense. Sometimes I think people over think the whole process. So I do whatever takes my fancy taking into consideration things like time.

so you're first feeding is slower then the second. And your second is slower then the third. Makes sense!

Don't forget for a good rise you will need a high proportion of fresh flour. A starter will feed, peak and fall. When you feed it again it will feed on the flour you've just added. But if you add a smaller proportion of flour to starter then it will eat through it quicker and not rise as much. Less flour will go quicker as it has less to eat through. But feeding a mature starter will hasten the process as it is already active. That is why your 3rd feeding is the quickest because it is now very active. It will also speed up the bulk fermentation in your final dough.

Taking starter from the fridge will work albeit slower then if you feed it and bring it to maturity first. So while you're following a recipe which will have guidelines you've gotta take into consideration our starters are all different.

Hope this helps Fusan

fusan's picture
fusan

Im still a noob and I do tend to overthink a lot. What I basically understand from your previous post is...

If you want to speed up the proces, you use less flouer, but never less than the total weight of the previous feeding (1:1:1) to keep it healthy, correct? So I in order to speed the proces of the starter from the fridge, I could feed it 1:1:1 and at the second feeding, when it should be pretty active, I could move up to 1:2:2?

Also, by feeding the Starter less than 1:1:1 Ill risk theres not enough flour for it to double?

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

and perhaps the most difficult thing to get ones head around. There are many ways, all correct! My rule of larger feedings of 1:1:1 or more is just that... my own personal rule which was inspired by my teacher. Feeding less then that is not wrong but will make it peak quicker without rising as much.

the thing about starters, which is also confusing, is each and every starter is it's own personality and everyone is different to the other. So making huge general rules is also wrong.

Starter is just flour and water which has fermented. It is the home of yeasts and LAB which leavens the bread. It is confusing at first because everyone is used to a bread recipe where the flour + water is different to the added yeast. With sourdough the yeast IS flour and water.

Now ask 3 bakers and you'll get 3 different answers with every question you have. Don't worry about it too much. Do what works for you! All this talk of doubling and tripling is not an exact rule as different flours and different hydration with different feeds will make your starter behave differently.

A high hydration starter won't rise as much as a lower hydration starter. A rye starter will behave differently to a bread flour starter at the same hydration.

Take your starter from the fridge and feed it then depending on how long ago it last matured and how much it has been fed it will peak in a certain amount of time. But now the yeasts are waking up and becoming active. Feed it again and the yeasts will work quicker this time. But feed it a bigger ratio means that while they are now active they have more to eat through.

As long as by the time you come to baking you have that 150g mature starter the world is your oyster. You have freedom of expression here.

fusan's picture
fusan

that you apparently do like everyone else but gets a different result. Well it sounds like Ill have to keep experimenting to find out the best way to maintain my starter under the conditions I have here.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

In the summer we have cut the levain 1st build to 2 hours and the 2nd build to 3 hours and when it doubles after the 3rd feeding in the fridge it goes for a 24 hour retard and it usually doubles in 2-3 hours after the 3rd feeding - about 8 hours total.  In the winter we go back to the 4,4,4, hour build times.

My guess it that your starter isn't really at full ramming speed.  If it nearly doubles at the 2nd feeding I would just do the 3rd feeding and see if it doubles within 4 hours - if so - no worries. My starter is at 17 weeks in the fridge and I noticed it was a bit slower than usual to build a levain this week too.  So I built it back up and put it away in the fridge to use when the current one runs out i a couple of weeks.

Happy NMNF baking 

fusan's picture
fusan

I just dont get that you can get your starter to double that fast. Wonder what I could do to get mine at full ramming speed. Should I take it out next time I have to make a new "Mother" and feed it through several days and then put it back to the fridge? Would that make it more active or is it like Abe says, that itll just never be that active.

I could also try to build the "Mother" in warmer temperatures next time, maybe that would help.

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

Just depends on many factors. Try the following...

Take 10g starter and feed it 10g flour + 10g water

Leave that to bubble up overnight or until peaked.

Then feed the 30g you've now got with 30g flour + 30g water. 

See how much quicker it rises and how much more it rises with greater feedings of a now active starter. Both are 1:1:1 rather than smaller ratios described in your original comment. Both have higher ratios of fresh flour and the second feed will be more active as it is now mature. 

fusan's picture
fusan

youre fast! I just finished my post, refreshed and you allready answered :)

I will try your method. I did use the 1:1:1 method before to feed the Levain, but dont remember if it was much faster.

Any particular temperature I should try it in?

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

A greater feeding will rise more simply because it has more food. Thickening it up will also help as it has more structure. A mature starter will rise quicker as it is already active. 

One can create a really liquid starter, not have it rise as much but it'll still make bread as it has active yeast in it. One can feed it less and it'll rise less but it'll still raise bread as it has active yeast in it. 

A 100% hydration rye starter will be thicker then a 100% hydration AP flour starter. Rye also ferments quicker than other flours. Plus all our starters are unique. So many variables so how can there be a single way? Or more precise how can there be a standard outcome? 

At the end of the day you've just got to know your starter and how it behaves.

So feed one I've given you will be 1:1:1 but its the first feed. The yeasts will wake up and become active. The second feed is also 1:1:1 but the yeasts are already nice and active so it'll be quicker. So same ratio but quicker on the second feed. 

If you take 50g starter and feed it 25g flour it'll have less to munch through than feeding it 50g flour. So therefore less rise. Should you feed 50g starter with 50g flour it'll have more to munch through therefore more rise. 

I'm not exact on temperature. I just find a nice warm place. It's difficult to regulate the temperature and I'm not that pedantic. I just go for as warm as possible and adjust timings. 

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

is done at 84 F in the summer on the counter and i use a heating pad in the spring winter and fall to keep it at around 84 F or so.  Just a few degrees less and the reproductive rate of yeast is reduced by 15%

Every starter is different. Some are more active and rise bread faster than others even - if both are at their peak.  it depends on what wee beasties are in the culture.  Getting it to double after the 3rd feeding is my 3rd feeding point but if it takes yous an extra hour to do so - no worries just do the 3rd feeding and use the levain when it doubles  As long as your starter is at its peak then that is the best it will do - and it will do fine.

Happy baking .

Maverick's picture
Maverick

Great post and thread. I was wondering if you notice a difference in flavor from week 1 to subsequent weeks using this method. E.g. is the bread at week 8 different in flavor to those made in week 1? If so, is it a fairly gradual flavor change or is it really noticeable each week?

I am getting back to using sourdough and I used to refresh constantly. Lately I have been curious about using more of a mother that one takes from each time. Your method takes it one step further and uses the mother to build from each time which interests me. So thank you for sharing.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

in the fridge because, the longer it is in there, the more sour it gets and I like SD bread to be more sour than less sour.  At 8 weeks you can really smell the difference in the stored starter and it starts to make a more sour bread that is noticeable.   I've starter to refresh the starter at 16 weeks and using the old one until week 20 so that the new one is already 4 weeks old when it is first used.just to get some decent age on it.  I think of it like aging cheese to make it sharp.

I think i will soon start refreshing it at week 12 so the new starter will be 8 weeks old in the fridge when first used..  After week 16 it really stars making some nice SD bread.    What also helps the starter and levain builds to be more sour is to do the counter work at 92-94 F.  This promotes LAB over yeast so the culture has a much higher LAB to yeast ratio when it hits the fridge,   Any levain made from it is being inoculated with more LAB than yeast to begin with which means the LAB will have mire time to reproduce before the yeast can raise the levain and resulting dough to be properly proofed to bake. More time means mote flavor and sour taste.

'The great thing is that you don't have maintain a starter for at least 12 weeks so a 3 month vacation is possible with no worries.  It was being lazy and tired of wasting food from tossing and feeding that drove me to this  Having a mire sour and better tasting bread was a freebie.

Happy baking 

Maverick's picture
Maverick

I have often wondered about this. I know that the technique used to make bread will change the sourness. I have never pushed a starter far enough to know if it made a major difference as well. I know there have been small differences but not really significant enough to be sure. It's good to know that pushing it to the 2 month mark makes a difference.

I was thinking about keeping 2 starters like you mentioned you are doing so one could go longer before using it with each refresh. I will be experimenting with white flour and eventually will have to try your rye version. It will be interesting to see how far white flour can go (King Arthur AP flour to be precise).

I know that Reinhart mentions keeping white flour at a little lower hydration than whole wheat flour when refrigerating. But I think working with 66% hydration or so is about as dry as I would feel comfortable doing. I remember his whole wheat being up to 75% hydration and a comment that the mother should be closer to 66% if using white. I'll have to report back what I find. Of course, like you, I bake about weekly unless I get on a bread making spree.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

tries this method using a white flour with mixed results and my experiments doing so show it to be inferior in most things I look for both flavor wise and long lasting easy wise  It is so much easier keeping a rye sour starter and using white flour to build the levain  The sour is better and the plain white bread tastes better for it too.  15-20% whole grains will make most white breads taste better as David Snyder's SFSD and SJSD experiments point to.   I like 30% - 40% even better as long as the hard bits for the whole grains are sifted out and fed to the levain first.... followed by some of the high extraction flour left over from the sifting leaving the white flour for the dough flour.  Getting the hard bits softest and attacked by the wee beasties the longest makes for less gluten strand cutting   You don't want to mess up the crumb of a whit bread all that much:-)  Plus this kind of white bread is better for you too!

French Baguettes are at 66-67% hydration and some on the KA web site are also this low.  Hydration, like most bread things, is relative with bagels being 53% when I make them so a white long refrigerated starter should be less hydration if you ask me

I would keep a white refrigerated starter at 50% hydration and hope for the best and realize you probably won't get 20 weeks out of it - but you might get 12. .....which is still way better than any other way to keep a starter.

Temperature and whole grains are by far what makes starters, levains and the resulting bread sour for me.  Most people don't like really sour bread though - preferring the mildly sour instead.  But ,I have yet to make a white bread, io any other kind,  that was so sour people didn't love it  So sour is relative as well.  I just depends on what you like and are used to,  Luckily we can make any bread to suit any taste.....with a bit if luck.

Happy experimenting

Maverick's picture
Maverick

I think I will build up a rye starter (from my white) to keep in the fridge. I figure I'll be able to try it out sometime in the coming weeks or months and can see how it compares. I know I like to throw some rye in my bread to give a little more sour anyway. After all, it is not like it requires maintenance.

As to hydration, I guess there might be a difference with maintaining a 60% hydration starter on a regular basis (the lowest I have gone) vs one that has been sitting for a while and you just have to build from. I'll think about that part. Frankly I am okay with feeding more often, but like you say there might be some flavor differences. I know that at the very least, having a lower hydration dough will help the flavor. Add in the cold retardation and we'll see what happens.

I am used to trying to favor the yeast for vigor and dealing with the flavor in how the dough is handled, so this will be interesting to see if I can convert to something on the other end of the spectrum. The ease of it all has me curious.

By the way, I remember seeing your charts before and somehow never quite got what you were doing until I saw this thread (which I missed since I have been away from the forum for a while). I am glad you posted this as I have remember being curious about your technique.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

while LAB are out producing yeast at a greater rate than they do at room temperatures they are reproducing at a very, very low rate.  So the only way to give numerical advantage to LAB over yeast is to keep it those low temperatures for a very long time - weeks and weeks and more weeks.

The other thing to remember is that the higher the acid environment the more the LAB are actually retarded more than the yeast are by the acid the LAB are producing when it comes to reproduction rates.  So eventually the culture will hit a low enough pH that the LAB reproduction rate will be almost zero - just like the yeast at these temperatures.  The Idea of the NMNF long retard is to give the LAB the reproduction advantage over yeast for as long as possible before the pH gets too low.  How long this takes is unknown to me I'm assuming many weeks but hopefully some others are are looking at it to see when this occurs.  It will be interesting to see when the ph bottoms for the culture,  But those who have a good pH meter should be able to tell easily enough..

I have always heard that the longer it takes the better the flavor when it comes to SD bread but most everyone seemed to be concentrating on getting their yeast to be as vigorous a possible which makes things go faster - exactly what you don't want.for better flavor.  Once the bread is bulk fermented and properly proofed, it has to go in the oven and time is up for the flavor train,  When proofed the yeast, has added what ever flavors it can whether it has takes 2 or 20 hours for it to proof

So my idea was to restrict the yeast while enhance the LAB reproduction rates to allow a longer time for the LAB to produce the flavors it does in SD bread because the bread would take longer to proof.

Still ,we have to remember that all things are relative.  What is in SD cultures, when it comes to LAB and yeast, varies greatly.  There might be 2 or more LAB and Yeast strains in a culture and there are a couple dozen LAB and yeast that could be found in combination too.  Some SD yeast strains produce twice the CO2 of others.which would be bad for flavor but great for making bread proof fast.  Some SD strains of LAB have been found to actually produce nearly half the CO2 in the culture too, as much as the yeast do - also bad for making things take longer.to proof and developing more flavor.

i hope I don't have those kinds of LAB and yeast in my culture, and don't think that i do after all of this time, but it just shows that your results may very quite a bit from mine or they might be right on target.  I always try to taste the starter and bread of other SD bakers when ever I can.  It is amazing how different they all taste.

Happy experimenting .

Maverick's picture
Maverick

I'll have to mull that one over as I was up really early today. My first thought is about time and gluten structure. I think that you have harvested something that works for you and is hopefully repeatable.

threebay's picture
threebay

hi dabrownman, I am new to SD and I hope you will be patient with my queries. First, you are God-sent and I would like to thank you for sharing your starter recipe. I had almost given up making SD bread as I hate waste. Having to discard & feed on a daily basis was driving bonkers. I have read your recipe several times and am going to follow it.

Am I right to say that "seed" means an old starter? What is the meaning of "LAB"? Is the first chart to be used for the creation of a NEW rye starter? Is the second chart to be used for the creation of a levain every time I want to bake?

I like my SD bread quite sour. After refrigerating the levain for 24 hours after it has risen 75-100%, can I use it ANY time straight from the fridge? Would the cold levain still be active after taking it out of the fridge?

 

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

have that will be converted into NMNF rye starter after the 3 feedings in the chart..  LAB is short for Lactobacillus the wee beasties that make the acid and sour in the SD starter.  They live in a symbiotic culture with the acid tolerant yeaswt that rise the dough.  The yeast make CO2 and ethanol and the LAB make acid.  If your current starter is active and healthy it should work fine for the seed.

I routinely retard by built levains for 24-36 hours.  I normally stir it down when I take it out of the fridge and when it rises 25%, that is when I use it - takes about an hour to warm up.

PugBread's picture
PugBread

LAB is Lactic Acid Bacteria, of which Lactobacillus bacteria are part of (and is the primary LAB in most starters but there's probably more).  Basically, any microbe whose primary acid production is lactic acid would be considered a LAB. In sour beer brewing, there are several LAB we're working with of which Lactobacillus and Pedocaucus are the primary players, but again there are several involved.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

in SD starters are lactobacillus strains of one kind or another.  I have never heard of any lactic acid producing microbes in SD other than lactobacillus.  It is interesting though.  Do you have any research papers on such microbes found in SD?

PugBread's picture
PugBread

I agree, Lactobacillus is the primary microbe given (deserved) credit for the production of sourdough, but being a wild/spontaneous culture derived from whatever floats in air that can survive the acidic environment would give way to the possibility of many other cultures.  Most don't work nearly as fast as lactobacillus does, but they likely keep surviving the journey (and contributing in their small, subtle ways).  Two references, which point to many more research papers, that indicate the presence of other LAB (including pediococcus) is Minervini et al. 2015 (Food Microbiology 52:66-76) and Yağmur et al. 2016 (Pol. J. Food Nutr. Sci. 66(2):99-107).

The abstract of the former is here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740002015001203

The full PDF of the latter can be found here: http://journal.pan.olsztyn.pl/fd.php?f=1442

Sondelys's picture
Sondelys

NMNF is for ? Also I wander --If we keep a starter of 100g. In the fridge . I use it once a week for a bread of 400 g. It takes very very  little of starter no ? . So according to your chart if I would need to buil my leaven from as little as 1.5 g of starter ? Then my 100g seed starter would last me  for ever !!!! Or maybe I don't get it right !               If the answer is YES  should I keep 50 g or even less  instead of 100 g.  ,I try to understand also this : you put your built leaven in fridge when it has risen 75 % from its initial level  you leave it there for up to 36 hours but then you say I took it out from the fridge ,stir it and use it when it rises up again to 25 %!!!  My question is when you take it out of the fridge does it have to be after it doubled up ? Let's say it reaches the double size in the middle of the night can I keep it there until I am ready to bake ? I am afraid it might go down  if it does is it still o.k. To use it ? Thanks so much 

threebay's picture
threebay

Hi,

Am I right to say that the first Table is for the creation of a NEW starter and the second Table is to create a levain every time I need to bake a loaf?

Should it fail to double in volume after the second feed, do I toss out 40g [using the 10-seed column of your Table] of the starter? and then add another 20g flour and 20g water?

I use rye for my starter. If I were to sift and use the hard bits, do I weigh the 20g of rye first and then sieve to use the hard bits OR use 20g of HARD bits? 

Thank you.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

refresh one and the 2nd chart is make a levain for an 800 g loaf of bread as an example. If you are making a 1250 g oaf of bread at 70% hydration you can always use the the rule of 8 to know how to build the levain.  If you want to use 12.5 % pre-fermented flour in the mix and there was 735 g of total flour flour then 12.5% of that is 92 g,  If you divide 92 by 15 you get the amount of seed starter 11.5 g say 12 g the first feeding is also 12 g of flour and water the 2nd feeding is 24 g of flour and water and the 3rd feeding is 48 g of flour and water or 90 go for flour, including the 6 in the seed starter) . The only reason it doesn't come out to 92 exact;y was the rounding error for 11.5 to 12 in the beginning. 

The only time my levain doesn't double after the 2nd feeding at the 8 hour mark is of the temperature is less than 78 F or the seed starter has been retarded longer than 16 weeks and it is a bit weak.  If it gets to 75% after the 2nd feeding, I let it pass for the 3rd feeding and it doubles in the last 4 hours after the 3rd feeding - no worries.  But that is when I just go ahead and refresh the starter since it needs to be refreshed.  Sometimes I even let it go if it only rises 50% after the 2nd feeding.  I hate tossing anything food related.  

I only use the hard bits for levain building.  I grind the  whole and sprouted grains for the bread and then use the sifted out hard bits for the first feeding of the levain.  If there are any hard bits left over I use them for the 2nd and 3rd feeding too.  If there isn't enough hard bits I use the remaining  high extraction flour to finish off the levain builds.

Happy baking 

threebay's picture
threebay

Hi, thank you all,for taking time to reply to my queries,

Where the feed calls for 10g of rye, do I weigh only the hard bits and use only the 10g of hard bits to feed the starter or levain As the case may be?   The rest of the rye, the soft bits bits, I would use for the dough?

thanks. 

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

and 13% or so which is about what I sieve out of home milled grains.  If I am making an 800 gram bread at 80% hydration that is 50% whole grains there is only 222 g of whole grains to grind.  At a 12% extraction for the bran this only gives you 27 g of bran total.  If you are building a levain for this bread of 20% pre-fermented flour, the levain would have 88 g each of total flour and water.

To figure out the 3 stage build you divide the 88 g of flour by the rule of 7.  88/7= 12.57 so say 13 g since I'm not weighing out partial grams for anything.  So the levain amount would be 13 g and the first feeding would be 13 g each of flour and water.   The 2nd feeding would be double the first or 26 g of flour and water and the 3rd feeding would be 52 g each of flour and water.

Since we only got 27 g of bran from the sieve that would cover the first feeding of 13 g of flour but only 14 g of the the total 26 g of flour for the 2nd feeding.  So part of the 2nd feeding and all of the 3rd feeding would be the remaining high extraction portion of the sieves whole grains.

In the summer here in AZ I would want to slow things down a lot.  Instead of having 20% pre-fermented flour I could go with 6% instead which would magically be 27 g - the exact amount of bran I sifted out so the entire 3 stage build would be 27g divided by the rule of 7 = 3.85 g so say 4g.  The first build would be each of bran, water and starter the 2nd stage would be 8 g each of bran and water and the 3rd stage would be 16 g each of bran and water which only leaves me 1 g short of bran with 28 g total required

Happy  baking 

threebay's picture
threebay

Hi,

I do not mill my flour, but use those in bags from the supermarket.  There are little hard bits in the rye, so can i sieve it  and use it to feed my levian.

Am I right to say that the hard bits are ONLY to be used to feed the levian, but NOT to create a new starter?

Thanks.

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

here in the states and just called whole rye, they have sifted out all the germ and bran from the whole grain flour and then put back some of the bran.  Some of the bran and all of the germ is missing.  I haven't used bran to make a starter from scratch but assume you could do so.  You would want to up the hydration to 120% for the forst 5- 6 days and then thicken it up after that.  Give it a go and see what happens

threebay's picture
threebay


Thank you very much for your swift reply. I was delighted to hear from you, -- as I would like to create your dabrownman SD starter this weekend. Like you, I like my SD bread quite tangy and very holey.
Can you please advise me - 1 Once I have created your Starter, HOW LONG must i wait before i can use it? After 16 weeks? Or straightaway?
2 I read with interest about how you refresh your starter earlier, in the 12th week, and NOT wait until the 16th week when only 10g is left of the mother starter or, as you say, before the starter gets  too weak.

When I refresh the mother starter in the 12th week, do I just add rye and water to it (in the same jar)? If so, how MUCH rye and water do i add for the first feed? And is this a 3-stage process? 
Say, if i have about 40g of the mother starter in the jar and want to refresh it (as i am afraid of running low) how much rye and water do I add for first feed? Second feed and third feed?

OR do I take simply some out, 10g??? from the mother jar and start again in ANOTHER jar? And then continue with the 3-feed process within 24 hours as per your table. 
Sorry i am a bit confused about this.

Thank You for all your help. Cannot wait to create a new starter based on your recipe.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

week until ready to be refreshed.  At the 12 week mark you can just take 10 g of the old starter and start another batch using the 10 g line below

Build

1st

1st

 

2nd

2nd

 

3rd

3rd

 

 

Seed

Flour

Water

Total

Flour

Water

Total

Flour

Water

Total

H2O

10

10

10

30

20

20

70

40

16

126

65.7%

8

8

8

24

16

16

56

32

13

101

66.1%

6

6

6

18

12

12

42

24

10

76

66.6%

I use a new jar so I can wash the old one that has been in the fridge for so long but you don't have to and sometimes I don't but if you you still have 30 g left in the old jar you need a new one anyway.

threebay's picture
threebay

thank you very much indeed for your clear reply. On the 12 week, i will take 10g of the mother starter, place in a new jar and start again. 

I would like you to know that i am most grateful for all your help.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

It is good to not be chained to a starter with all the waste of flour and time.

ryebreadasap's picture
ryebreadasap

he is helping me too and i wish i was at a fast computer like i am now so i couldve posted here and read other people who are doing it at the same time. it takes so much concentration i didnt want to change over from the private message because then i might forget something specific i asked.  

dabrownman----i am also writing here again to get your attention because i am not clear on what to do today to my starter.  i told you i was  about to start the 40g flour 35g water after doing the 3 stage build but i poured the water in before discarding. i wish i read your message early enough to know i couldve still discarded but i thought i mightve taken too much water out.    so instead i fed it 35g flour and did not discard.  i thought i probably can still discard but that it might need to absorb or something and it was late.  i made a bad guess.  so i fed it 5 grams short. today i am not sure what to do. maybe discard today?  and pretend i am right back where i was? and put 5 extra grams flour to make up for what i did not put?   i wasnt sure if it wouldnt be as vigourous because days have gone by since the 3 stage build.     i think that is what i will do making another guess until you tell me what you think. i dont want these discrepiences to effect the hyradation or something else i am unsure about.  i dont know what the effect will be that i fed it differently than whatyou said. and i am about to possibly do it again. i tried to explain my reasoning so you could advise me accurately.

i want to get back to being able to carry on for the 3 days of your instructions before refridgerating while i keep researching and printing bread methods and your recipes. 

 

*thank you*

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

again after 24 hours.  No worries.  You can adjust the hydration at the end to get 66% hydration 

ryebreadasap's picture
ryebreadasap

I am coming back to say that I am not making any more changes to the starter today since this last post.   It concerns me with all the guessing. I am thinking I may have to do a 3 stage build again and continue on in order without anything getting in the way.   I have been extra busy in this start of the month.    I want you to know I did nothing today to the room temp starter and am not sure about fixing whats happened. I tried to explain about not discarding yesterday,  feeding off by 5 grams. It seem like such small details to worry over and then there's the time lapse with moving forward. I want to be sure though.  So tomorrow,  if I hear back from you, I will be ready to start over.    I dont know if my guess about what I was going to do today makes sense.  I thought it wasn't good to let the starter sit undisturbed for a day without using it/discarding but at least I have told you what has happened. 

Do I need to start over ? Do you understand what has happened?     

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

never notice or care:-)  Just carry on like it never happened and all will be well.

threebay's picture
threebay

Hi, i have just fed my starter and this is my third feed. It did not rise after the second feed, but i did not discard and proceeded with my third feed of 40g rye and 16g water. It is very very dry and i can hardly stir it. I live in the UK and am wondering if our rye is drier than what you have in the USA. How is it going to double in volume when it is so thick? It is being stored in a box with a heating pad underneath the jar, at 89 degrees all the time.

i have added a little more water, a tablespoon, so that i can stir it. Still gluggy and hard to stir. 

Is it supoosed to be so Stiff. It is like mud. What sort of consistency should it be? Like pancake batter, like clay? Should I be able to stir it easily?

should i add more water?

THAnks ----

 

 

Chockswahay's picture
Chockswahay

which seems to soak up water like a sponge so I always feed at 1:1:1  The consistency is like a thin paste, it stirs well enough but does not level on its own until it has sat for a while (think peaks like whipped cream!)

:)

threebay's picture
threebay

Hi, delighted to hear from someone in the UK. I use Waitrose's Dark Rye. Have used Doves for making TFL starter? Where can I buy Doves Rye in the UK? Waitrose's dark rye has lots of little bits in it.  Thanks for your help? Hope you dont mind me asking, where in the uk do you live. I am a frustrated SD novice and am having serious problems all the way. I have decided to use this recipe to make a new starter, as I was going mad having to throw away tons of flour feeding my stater. My starter is never active enough, i do not have a good oven spring, not enough holes in my bread etc etc. 

thank you for your reply.

PugBread's picture
PugBread

When you say "I have decided to use this recipe to make a new starter", are you saying that you are starting from scratch on your starter? I mean, from the very beginning of just mixing some water with flour? If so, then you'll be looking at about 7-10 days of daily (or twice-daily) feedings to get a strong, viable starter.  From that point (day 7-10), you can proceed with refrigerating, building schedules, 3-time feedings, etc. Then again, maybe I've just misunderstood.

During the starter propagation phase (days 0-10), you will be discarding quite frequently, BUT if you keep your starter culture small then you will only be discarding small amounts each time.  I maintain a 40g culture that is fed once a day at room temp, so I am discarding 20g per day while it's at room temp. Obviously, this could go down to 20g every 12-16 weeks if kept refrigerated.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

stirred but kneading it a bit is better.  That is about the hydration of a rye bread dough int the UK and it has no trouble rising ..

threebay's picture
threebay

hi, my post above refers to the making of a SD STARTER, not levain. Can I KNEAD the mix of thr THIRD stage of the STARTER?  I am not yet at the dough stage. 

Thanks.

 

 

 

PugBread's picture
PugBread

Knead away - the microbes don't care, and it doesn't matter what name you call it either.  In fact, at ~65% hydration you will basically HAVE TO knead it because it's like fresh-from-the-box modeling clay. You can knead a starter, levain, dough, etc...

Chockswahay's picture
Chockswahay

I have to confess to being a novice here, dabrownman knows a lot more than I do.  However if you are having problems why not try 1:1:1 and see what happens?  I would have thought Waitrose flour would be good (I use their Canadian wholemeal and white all the time).

You can buy Doves Farm flour at most supermarkets including Waitrose :)

From Glasgow :)

PugBread's picture
PugBread

There is definitely a difference in feeding schedules between a 65% and 100% hydrated starter.  The 100% will need more frequent feedings - thus, more effort and more waste - but there is nothing inherently wrong with 100% hydrated starters either.  It basically comes down to personal preference.  At 100%, you can use a spoon to stir your starter; at 65%, you will want to knead the starter. The 100% will appear to be more active because of the quick and lofty raising, but the 65% will be equally as suited to making bread loaves.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

to make old school pumpernickel It take five days to make the starter and bake with it.  40g of whole grain rye and 30 g of water.  Mix and let sit at 78 F for 124 hours. Day 2 same thing add 40 fg f flour and 30 g of water.  Day 3 toss half (i don't toss but feed it the same as the other half and have 2 starters for 2 loaves) then feed again 40 g of flour and 30 g of water.  Day four feed  40 g of flour and 30 g of water.  On day 5 you ae ready to go.

Yesterday I took 10 g of NMNF starter and did a 10,20,40 levain build to make 150 ng of levain.  The forst stage was 2 hours the 2nd stage was 2 hours and 3rd stage was 4 hours at which time it doubled - total 8 hours.  Itn probably was faster but I was gone so ony sw it at the 8 hour make 4 hours after the 3rd feeding  This is the summer norm since it was 86-88 F in my kitchen and 100F outside yesterday .  In the winter it take 12 hours to get the levain to its peak.

In the UK it always winter compared to Arizona:-)  Temperature makes a huge difference.  In the winter I use a heating pad to keep the counter work at 78-82 F and speed things up.

threebay's picture
threebay

hi dabrownman,

Thank you for your reply. I am sorry to have to inform you that my thick rye starter, using the dabrownman recipe did not rise at all. No bubbles. Nothing. I suspect that the seed might not be strong enough? do i throw the whoe lot put amd try again? Or do i make a new starter from scratch? 

Can you PLEASE give me your recipe for a new rye starter From scratch.I have just bought a new brand of rye, Doves farm organic rye. Please let me know when to feed and how much rye amd water each time, and over how many days. 

from a sad SD novice.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Did it double when you took 20 g of it and fed it 40 each of flour and water?  If so how long did it take adn what kind of starter was it?

threebay's picture
threebay

hi dabrownman,

It took 3-4 feeds to double in volume. I am still feeding it and it now takes about 8 hours to double.

There is always a thick film or crust on top. Should this be so? 12 nours after feeding, starter becomes quite

soft and creamy, NOT thick like just after it has been fed.

Even though it has doubled, there are bubbles but NOT many. Also bubbles are NOT big. Bubbles can be seen on the sides of the jar.

It fails the float test everytime!  Does it fail because it is not active enough?

i have been feeding it twice a day, every 12 hours, at 80 degrees, ratio is 1:2:2 Using organic wholemeal rye and filtered water. It has now been fed on sat, sun, monday and today. It doubles, but NEVER triples,  in size 6-7 hours after feeding.

How am I know know when it is ready to be put in the fridge?

thank you.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

and got the NMNF starter to 66% hydration and let it rise 25% after the 3rd feeding - then into the fridge it goes.

But you can put any starter in the fridge if you want.  It just may not last 16-20 weeks without maintenance and still be able to make a strong levain in 12 hours using a 3 stage build to 100% hydration.

threebay's picture
threebay

Does anybody know if the FLOAT test will work on a stiff rye starter? Thanks.

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

NMNF atarters didn't when I just tried them.  They are both perfectly fine and make levain in 8 hours  - 4 hours after the 3rd feeding they easily double. 

BXMurphy's picture
BXMurphy

Hey, man, that's pretty neat! Even a new guy like me can figure that out! That's a great alpha and omega for maintaining a starter. Great for a beginner, and great for someone who, after trying every darned new recipe and bright and shiny thing just wants to get back to baking a loaf a week without pulling out a bunch of test tubes to make any kind of bread thing they want. Far out! Well done. Thanks!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

using it and many other Fresh Lofians doing so too with white, WW and spelt varieties being used at various stif hydration, it has proven to be very easy and versatile.  I've baked at least 125 different recipes using it and it always does its best to raise the dough and make it sour.

Happy baking 

ryebreadasap's picture
ryebreadasap

I have to look to see when i first made this NMNF with your help, I have not used it every week and then others I used it multiple times. I want it to stay alive and useable. How do I feed it to keep it good?  Do i need to know how much I have in the jar now and then add according to your ratio? 

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

mad it.  If you want to refresh just follow the initial build formula above using one of the 3 lines to m=make the amount you want.

Build

1st

1st

 

2nd

2nd

 

3rd

3rd

 

 

Seed

Flour

Water

Total

Flour

Water

Total

Flour

Water

Total

H2O

10

10

10

30

20

20

70

40

16

126

65.7%

8

8

8

24

16

16

56

32

13

101

66.1%

6

6

6

18

12

12

42

24

10

76

66.6%

Valdus's picture
Valdus

I like this small starter, but I when I see charts I go blind, I really do. I am going to do another look-over but in the meantime if someone gets to this, explain!

cgfan's picture
cgfan

Perhaps this will help.  Dab's chart can be generalized in to the following given you are starting with x grams of starter.

1st build: Take your x grams of starter and add x grams each of flour & water until it doubles in volume.  You'll end-up with 3x grams worth of starter.

2nd build: Take the result of the 1st build and add 2x grams each of flour & water until it doubles in volume.  You'll end-up with 7x grams worth of starter.

3rd build: Take the result of the 2nd build and add 4x grams of flour and 1.6x grams of water until it increases by 25% in volume.  You'll end-up with 12.6x grams of starter.

The chart is simply this procedure pre-computed for 6, 8 & 10 grams of initial starter.

Not sure if this helps, but it is a more general way of presenting the same idea.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

take the first row of the chart

you take 10 g or seed starter and feed it 10 g each of rye flour and water

4 hours later the 2nd feeding in 20 g each of flour and water.

4 hours later you feed it 40 g of flour and 16 g of water.  Let it rise about 25% and then stick it in the fridge.  Now you have 126 g of NMNF starter at 66% hydration.

The 2nd and 3rd rows just make less NMNF starter.

Happy Baking  and I hope your vision returns.

ryebreadasap's picture
ryebreadasap

i go blind too, even after asking 100 questions.

ryebreadasap's picture
ryebreadasap

Can i use a seed amount from my NMNF jar and do the refresh on the counter and then add that to the rest of the little bit of NMNF i have in the fridge? 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

the new batch age and gain some character.  I refresh mine at 12 weeks and keep using he old one for another 12 weeks.  When the old is near gone I refresh it and stat using the 12 week old one for bread.  That way the youngest starter I have on hand to use is 12 weeks old and very tangy.  The low temop makes for sour but it takes weeks and weeks to bring it out since the cold really slows things down!

Heikjo's picture
Heikjo

That is very interesting, I love sour bread. Let's see if I get it right.

Example of how it might be done:

  1. I bake twice a week and need 8 g of starter each week.
  2. At week 0 I make a 110 g starter which I leave in the fridge for 12 weeks.
  3. Meanwhile I use some other starter I got.
  4. After 12 weeks I make a new 110 g starter and put it in the fridge.
  5. When I've made the 2nd starter, I start using the 1st starter made at week 0, which has been sitting unused in the fridge for 12 weeks.
  6. After 24 weeks I've spent 8*12 = 96 g of the 1st starter, which now has 14 g left. At this point I refresh it back up to 110 g.
  7. At this point I start using the 2nd starter, which has been sitting unused in the fridge for 12 weeks.
  • Week 0: Make 1st starter
  • Week 12: Make 2nd starter
  • Week 12: Start using 1st starter
  • Week 24: Refresh 1st starter
  • Week 24: Start using 2nd starter
  • Week 36: Refresh 2nd starter
  • Week 36: Start using 1st starter

This is a very nifty way to do it. My final question is regarding fridge temperature. I keep mine around 0-3 C, but it's also the only fridge I got, which means it's opened and closed and warm items is put in it. When I retard dough, the temperature will rise to around 8 C for some time before the fridge is able to lower the temperature back down. The fridge also doesn't always lower the temperature right away. It can sit around 5-6 C for hours before switching on and lowering it to the setpoint.

Obviously temperature changes does affect the longevity of a starter, but what is your experience on this matter? Does your fridge vary this much? Only way to find out is to test it myself, which I will, but do you think the starter will work 24 weeks after it was made in this fridge?

I will also try making the levain at 92-94 F to get even more sour.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

back so it isn't affected by the door opening so much.  You will have to see how yours behaves.  When your starter gets slow to double and can't do so at the 12 hour total mark  4 hours after the 3rd feeding then it it showing signs of needing a refresh.  For me that is at the end of the batch of NMNF starter I am currently using so it isn't a problem for you it might be 10 weeks after you start using it - every starter and fridge is different.  I use whole grain rye that I grind myself and use fresh and your food might be different too.  You will just have to see what works for you.

Good luck with the high temp levain build.  Even 88-90  F is good.  You might try making your starter build that way too and see if that makes a difference.

Happy NMNF baking

Valdus's picture
Valdus

Is this to create a new starter or is this a leaven. I ask because of it going back in the fridge. 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

goes in the fridge at 66% hydration.  The 2nd chart in tht OP is to build levains for 800 g od bread dough at 100^% hydration.

I routinely retard my built levain at 00% hydration for 1 - 2 days on a regular basis but the NMNF starter can stay in the fridge for up to 24 weeks.

Happy NMNF baking 

Heikjo's picture
Heikjo

My NMNF rye is living happily in my fridge now and is working well. Thank you again for this!

A question on making the levain: You say that it takes a shorter time in the summer due to warmer weather and that you have very high temperatures. Should I continue with the next step once the levain has doubled?

I can get 22-30 C in the summer and also got a heating pad I can use if it gets too cold. Right now it's around 26 C. One day it might double after two hours on the second feeding, the next week three hours and some weeks down the line it may take four hours. Is doubling the sign that I should continue with the next stage?

Same question when making the starter, actually. Do you need less time building the starter back up in the summer or do you still wait four hours between each feeding, even if it doubled after two hours? Except for the third feeding, where you put it in the fridge once it's risen 25%.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Since they reproduce faster in the summer and their metabolism is faster it takes less time for the levain or starter to double.  A few degrees in temperature makes an huge difference.  When the culture doubles after a feeding it is ready for the next stage feeding regardless of time.  In the winter it might take 4 hours after the 2nd feeding to double maybe more depending on how long the starter has been retarded.  In the summer right now I cut the first two stages to 2 and 3 hours and it still doubles in 2 hours after the 3rd feeding for 7 hours total.  In the winter in will take 12 hours with 4 hour stages.

Happy NMNF baking

Heikjo's picture
Heikjo

If it's really hot when you make the starter, you might want to consider putting it in the fridge before it rises 25% on the third feeding. It takes a while to cool down and it can quickly rise more than you want just during the time it takes for the starter to cool down.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

No harm putting it int eh fridge right after the 3rd feeding if it is hot and the starter vigorous afer the 2nd feeding.

Heikjo's picture
Heikjo

The one I made to day doubled on the 2nd feeding after 2.5 hours and rose 25% about 40 minutes after the third feeding. It got a little higher after I put it in the fridge, probably to around 30%. I plan on leaving it there for up to 10 weeks and see how it works out. Maybe make a loaf a few weeks from now to test it.

I tested the bran content in my whole grain rye and it had around 11% worth of bran. The bag says it's the entire grain, with germ and bran.

Do you use the entire grain when making the starter? Including germ and bran?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

from seed at home so I know for sure it is all there.  The few months I have been building levain from the NMNF starter using the bran from whole grain only.  The bran is still 20% starch so there is plenty of food but the bran acts as a buffer for the LAB so that they can continue to make acid and reproduce at lower pH that if the bran was not there making for a more sour levain, higher LAB to yeast ratio than normal and a more sour bread results.

That is the one change I do now from the original post.  I still use whole grain for the 66% hydration starter build.

Happy NMNF baking 

Paladine's picture
Paladine

OK I just decided to use my 1 month old starter to make the NMNF starter so I want to make sure I have it got it right:

I added 10g of my starter to 10g water and 10g Rye flour and now have it sat on top of my PC (82-88f depending on what I am doing) with the timer set for 4 hours.

In 4 hours I will add 20g Rye flour and 20g water and place on top of my PC for another 4 hours at which point it should have doubled (if it hasn't I should throw away 40g and add a further 20g Rye flour & 20g water as above).

Once stage 2 has managed a doubling in 4 hours I move to stage 3 which is adding a further 40g rye flour and 16g water and wait until it has reach 25% increase in volume at which point I put it in the fridge.

I think I have it right but would appreciate it if someone can confirm?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

At higher temperatures your starter will likely move faster so if it doubles in less than 4 hours after the 2nd feeding go ahead and do the 3 rd feeding early.  Make sure you are using whole rye flour too.

Happy baking 

Paladine's picture
Paladine

Had no problem making the NFNM starter it doubled easily in the second segment and I put it in the fridge about 90 minutes into the third segment as it had increased around 30%.  I won't be using it until next week because I figured I would finish off my other two starters first (the first one is currently in use and in bulk fermentation, second one will be after the weekend.)

Thanks for the response and the very informative thread.

cgfan's picture
cgfan

I decided to try dab's NMNF starter and built one some 8 weeks ago.  I've been keeping it, a small, 125g amount, in a sealed 8oz canning jar in the coldest part of my frig with a piece of cling wrap on top of the starter inside the jar.  So far I've used it twice early in its life at 1 wk and at 3 wks, and the increase in sour between the two was noticeable and has me looking forward to future bakes with a more developed culture.

I decided to build a new NMNF culture since my original plan was for an 8 week rotation between two NMNF cultures built 8 weeks apart.  That way I'd always have one that's between 8 & 16 weeks old while the other one matures.

When I took out my now 8 week NMNF culture, which hasn't been touched outside of withdrawing tiny amounts of it for two bakes, I noticed a thin layer of grey while the rest of the culture was a uniform color though with a slight pink to orange cast.  Surprisinglyi the pink to orange cast disappeared and returned to a normal wheaty color once exposed to air.  Is this normal or has anything gone wrong with my culture, and in particular the grey part?

It smells perfectly fine to me, (not to mention deliciously sour!), though out of caution I discarded the grey part and used 10g of the rest to rebuild the second NMNF culture.

FWIW here's a picture of the part of the culture I discarded, retrieved from my compost bucket after I decided to take the picture.  In the pic you can see the grey parts on both the left and right side.

With many thanks in advance, please advise...

Discarded upper part of NMNF starter

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Well I don't really know since I usually just stir what ever is in there all together before taking out what I need.  I think I would have tried to make a loaf if really good rye bread with the part you threw away though..  Probably won't make any difference.  Wait till you se what it looks like at 24 weeks old:-)....

I do the same thing you do biutnow wait to week 10 to make the next batch since mine usually goes 20 weeks before it is gone and the bread is so mch better when the starter is at lest 8 weeks old.

Happy NMNF baking 

BXMurphy's picture
BXMurphy

Dabrown! You never said anything about STIRRING!! Oh, my aching head!

Good thing I poked the cling wrap into all those scoop-holes I've been putting in my NMNF! :)

Murph

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

food so the wee beasties have less of a chance to starve at the 24 week stage and you get to redistribute the water too.  Poking the wrap into scoop holes is just too much work:-)

No worries the wee beasties are pretty low in the IQ charts I use for Lucy so they probably don't even know what wrap, holes and stirring is........ depending on what is is.

Keep pluggin' those holes Murph

BXMurphy's picture
BXMurphy

Good gosh, man! I'm going to remember you when *I* retire! I know you hate rules but, MAN, you've got it ALL worked out, ehwhat?

He won't poke holes, he says.... keep plugging, Murph, he says... sheesh!

Murph

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

I don't stir, I don't put plastic nor do I poke holes in my starter. I grab a tablespoon or so of old/original starter, add 100 g of dark rye or half dark rye/half high extraction flour to 66 or so g of water, stir/knead it well, shove it in a mason jar, screw on the lid and most of the time shove it in the fridge. If I have time, I might let it rise a bit on the counter.

This usually lasts quite a few weeks if not a few months. I don't like my bread super sour so I use it young and probably refresh the whole thing sooner that what DAB does. 

Then when I want to bake, I take a bit from the jar (no I don't stir before because like you I didn't know - glaring at DAB) and build my levain from that bit. Works just fine and I don't get stressed. 

cgmeyer2's picture
cgmeyer2

i accidentally used all my NMNF. how do i restart dab? do i begin at the beginning with a new starter and then proceed to NMNF?

thanks, claudia

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Reinhart - it never fails.  40 fg of whole grain rye and 30g of water. Let sit for 24 hours at 78 F.  Next day add the same amounts to day 1.  Day 3 split in half and feed each half the same amount.  Day 4 split each in half and feed 80 g of flour and 60 g of water each. Combine the toss from day four, stir well and when it doubles make a loaf of rye bread with it on day 4  On day 5 toss half of 1 and feed it 80/60 again - this will be your storage starter in another week. and take the toss and mix it with the other half and make another loaf of rye bread.

Now all you have to do is toss half every day and feed 80/ 60 for another week, using the toss to make bread.  After two weeks, thicken it up from 75% hydration to 66% hydration and after it rises 25% after feeding then store it in the fridge. 

loafsniffer's picture
loafsniffer

Hi! It's me again. I checked my NMNF starter and there's a bit of hooch at the top (not a lot, just a few drops). That means it's hungry, right? What should I do?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

the drops from the lid of the container.  IF your starter isn't 20 weeks stored in the fridge, I wouldn't worry about it.  Just make sure that you stir the starter before or after you take a bit to make a loaf if bread and then back in the fridge it goes.  I usually don't refresh now until it is gone or it slows down making a levain past 16 hours.er toss half the levain and feed the 2'td stage again at at the 8 hour mark if it doesn't double.  If it does't' double after the 2nd sage levain build I just stir it down and down and do the same at 12 hours. When it can't double by the 16 hour mark then I refresh the starter.  This usually happens at the 20-24 week mark if it lasts that long.

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Thanks, dabrownman! Your method makes storing and maintenance of starters so much easier. Until your method I was constantly feeding my starters. Now they can go months without any feedings. It is surprising how well they raise the bread.

I store my starters in the bottom of my refrigerator in 3 tiny containers. I like a very sour taste so I make 2 or 3 of your starters 6 weeks or so apart. That way when my oldest starter is used up, I can start using one of the others that has been "aging".

I store 3 starters in a 2" X 2" X 7" space. And all 3 containers are attached to each other.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

as well as it does for me .  I too have 2 in my fridge on is 12 weeks older then the other.  I like my bread sour too  Happy baking

boiosen's picture
boiosen

Hello. I'm totally new to baking. I'm not sure how chart 2 should be read.

If I use the first line in chart 2:

I should mix 81 gram levain, 400 gram flour and 400 gram water?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

levain build from 3 g of NMNF starter for an 800 g loaf of SD bread where the total amount of prederfment,or levain, created totals 81 grams.

The first build is 3 g of NMNF starter, plus 6 g each of flour and water.  Mix it all together and let it sit for 4 hours.  Then add 11 g each flour and water, mix and let sit fir another 4 hours.  Then add 22 g each flour and water, mix and in 4 hours it should double in volume and be ready to use to raise a loaf of SD bread that weights 800 g total.

Hopes this helps