The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Tartine Starter Q

Ceponatia's picture
Ceponatia

Tartine Starter Q

hey all, I'm a newish baker!

im trying to work with the starter recipe in Tartine No 3 and I can't tell if it's working for me. I've followed all of the steps (50/50 wheat/white flour mix, 300g water, fermenting in a bowl for 3 days) and there's almost no smell to it and the top is really crusty with super wet dough underneath. Is it ruined or should I just give it more time?

mutantspace's picture
mutantspace

starters need a certain temperature - if like me you live in a temperate part of the world you need to find somewhere warm. I started making starters last year in the autumn in ireland  - bad timing - and made a number of them and put them into airing cupboard...it took longer than the prescribed number of days but they eventually came good. I suggest you try a few. I did 100% hydration starters and did a number s  : all white, all rye and 50/50 mix. Rye is great cause its stable and kicks off better. If nothing is happening start again. crust forming means its drying out  so give it a stir - infact stirring is good because it gets air into the mix and you want yeast getting into it...heres a link to the best video on it - basically he makes you understand thats its an intuitive thing....i was obsessed with exact measurements at the beginning....this guy takes all that stress out of it...i followed him and ended up with very healthy starters @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuU0xmqEZyI&sns=em 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

from scratch as supposed to prepping a starter for baking?

Keep warm and carry on.

I don't wish to confuse you but building huge amounts of starter is unnecessary. Follow the same ratio but build less. So the next time you feed your starter take some off and place in a small jar then feed that. You can probably do a 10th of what's in the recipe.

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

Here's what I used:  http://yumarama.com/968/starter-from-scratch-intro/

Conceptually, it's harder to fail than succeed in making a starter.  The beasties are very temperature sensitive (low to mid 70s F is ideal), and you should use filtered water, since the additives in the water are designed to kill microbes.

My link suggests 7-10 days is the expected time horizon if I recall (haven't actually read it in over a year).  But after that time you will have a perfectly viable starter.  You can then store in the fridge, where it will last basically forever.  I keep mine unfed and then a couple days before baking I do a series of 2-5 builds ~12 hours apart at 1-2-2 (starter-water-flour) of .25-.5-.5 ounces.  This guarantees that your starter is very active when you go to build levain.  Not the only way by a long shot--see, e.g., dabrownman's NMNF--but it works nicely for me.

Ceponatia's picture
Ceponatia

Thanks for the replies. It looks like someone messed with it while I was at work. the crust is gone and it's EXTREMELY watery so I'm guessing like the above poster said I need to let it sit out for a few more days. 

mutantspace's picture
mutantspace

well i made mine jars of starters while my wife was away working - the airing cupboard looked like a science lab - she got home at 3am one friday morning, opened the cupboard (i dont know why) and all the jars fell on top of her - all the flour, water and starter gone. Clothes ruined. Worst of all i thought all my work and nursing was all for naught. However all the starters recovered. They are resilient. Once you take care of them, feed them and dont forget about them youll be fine. Patience is the key. If youre unsure just start another one. A tablespoon of flour and water at a time.