The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New starter now what

home_mill's picture
home_mill

New starter now what

I am on day 3 of activating a new starter. It seems pretty lively now, lots of bubbles and it was about to overflow so I transferred it to a larger container. It does not smell like much, just very faintly like sourdough. I don't plan to use it until the weekend which is 4 days away. Should I put in the refrigerator now and stop feeding it or should I continue to feed it daily? It I keep feeding it I will have to dump some out because it is becoming too much. I have been feeding it one cup of water and one cup of flour daily, can I feed it half that much in the future? I don't really have the tools to make a free form loaf like a couche or banneton so I was just going to make a sandwich loaf to start, I asume that is ok?

 Thanks - Joel

 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Keep it at room temperature and continue to feed it so it gets stronger. You don't have to keep large quantities when you are just in maintenance mode. I usually dump out all but a couple of spoonfuls of old starter and then feed 1/2 cup of flour and enough water to make a thick batter. The thicker it is, the less often it will need to be fed. If it develops hooch on top, then it needs to be fed. Feed it once or twice daily while at room temperature. 

You can make a free-form loaf without special tools. I do it all the time. Your dough will need to be a little lower in hydration so that it will hold its shape.

home_mill's picture
home_mill

Hey SourdoLady,

 Thanks for the tips. So tomorrow I am going to dump it all except 1/2 cup and feed it with 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water daily until the weekend. If I am baking once a week, should I refrigerate during the week or leave it out and continue dumping / feeding? Where do you dump it? I am afraid it will clog the pipes! Is there a tutorial on shaping a free form loaf? Sorry for all the newbie questions.

 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

If you are going to feed it 1/2 cup flour, then I'd only save 1/4 cup or less of the old starter. Yes, ordinarily you would store it in the fridge during the week until you want to use it. Take it out of the fridge a day or two ahead of time and dump & feed to get it nice and active before you make dough. You can dump it down the drain if you run lots of cold water along with it. You can also dump it in the compost or just into the garbage can. If you are frugal you can use it in pancake batter, quick bread, etc.

There is a video somewhere on the site of shaping a loaf, but I don't know where it is. Maybe type in a search, or someone else might come along who knows where it is. I think JMonkey is the person who posted it.

edh's picture
edh

Home_Mill,

I'm far from the best one to give advice on forming loaves; do a search on the site and you'll find lots of great advice.

One thing I would offer, it's become a critical tool in my kitchen, is white rice flour. It's almost magical; nothing sticks to it (no gluten). If you use a banneton, I think folks here recommend a 50-50 mix of AP and rice flour.

I just use a tea towel generously rubbed with straight rice flour. For a boule, I set it in a mixing bowl, for a batard, I lay it on a cookie sheet with a couple of rolled up tea towels on either side. When it's time to get the loaf off a peel (or upside down cookie sheet), if you're not baking on parchment paper, sprinkling the peel first with a little rice flour will let the loaf slide right off.

Keep at it with the sourdough; you're in for a great ride!

edh

home_mill's picture
home_mill

Do they sell rice flour at most stores?

If I am using a cane banneton, is a linen or towel required between the dough and banneton or can I just flour the banneton and place the dough directly on it?

 

 

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I believe it is a brotform and you would rub the rice flour (or AP & rice flour) into the grooves. Higher end markets usually carry rice flour. I find mine at a health food store.

edh's picture
edh

Oops, I thought banneton and brotform meant the same thing-sorry! I'm still at the bowl and tea-towel stage of things...

I get my rice flour from a health food store; most carry it for gluten-free diets. You can use white or brown rice flour, but the brown tends to be a bit, well, gritty. Just make sure you don't buy flour made from sticky, or high gluten, rice; it will do just the opposite of what you want. It's usually sold as "sweet rice flour" or"mochiko." Good for making various asian sweets, not so much bread!

edh