The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to quickly get an active starter?

picalowpiepi's picture
picalowpiepi

How to quickly get an active starter?

I only have time to bake on the weekends. Today I mixed 1/4 AP, 1/4 whole wheat, and 1/2 water and left it on the counter with a towel on top. Is there a faster way to get it to bubble by next Saturday?

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Warmth and carefully timed feedings. If you can get your starter to above 75F and feed at the optimal time then very possible.

If you're measuring by volume then you may have made it overly hydrated. Ideally it should be a thickish paste. Allow it to bubble up and then settle. May take a day or two. Then discard 2/3rds and top back up with fresh water and flour making sure you're giving it some wholegrain too. Keep warm and stir. Only feed again when you see more activity. Keep this up and it can be ready to bake with by Saturday. But no promises. 

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

In a week's time you should be able to develop an active starter as long as there aren't any missteps along the way. It took me 3 tries to get my first starter going and all the early failures were self-induced. There is a whole lot of information on this forum regarding the build of a new starter so you might want to search for more information.

If you absotively, posilutely need a starter for next Saturday I would recommend that you see if you can source about 20 grams of someone else's starter just in case.

Best of luck.

 

Jim

Ford's picture
Ford

I agree with Jim;  Get some active starter from a friend,  It will take at least two weeks to get one going from scratch.  The best method is the Pineapple Juice solution by Debra Wink.  You will find this method in the search box in the above right corner of this page.  I'll be glad to send you a copy of the method, if you cannot find it here.

Ford

picalowpiepi's picture
picalowpiepi

I did add by volume, but I heard it had to be more of a stirrable mixture so i added more water. Ill try sticking to the exact measurements this time.

Thanks for telling me about the pineapple juice, I'll try to get some or at least some vitamin c pills. I wonder, I'm already on Day 2 and it only said to use it on the first day. Is it too late to use?

ejm's picture
ejm

This July, I started and had a viable starter ready in 5 days. I used Jane Mason's method in "All You Knead is Bread" - just 100% whole wheat flour (but apparently, it could have been all-p) and water.  Here is what I did:

Natural Wheat Starter
based on a recipe in “All You Knead is Bread” by Jane Mason

Day 1

  • 50gm 100% whole wheat (no additives) flour
  • 50gm body temperature water

Mix together. Cover with a plate and leave on the counter (or if it’s winter in the oven with only the light on) for 24 hours.

Day 2

  • 50gm 100% whole wheat (no additives) flour
  • 50gm body temperature water

Mix together. Cover with a plate and leave on the counter (or if it’s winter in the oven with only the light on) for 24 hours.

Day 3, 4
On each day, repeat Day 2 instructions

Day 5
There should now be lots of bubbles. If not, Mason says to “just cover it and let it sit for another 24 hours”. When there are lots of bubbles, it’s time to feed/refresh the mixture….

(blog from OUR kitchen | and we have a new pet...)

As soon as I understood the need to make sure that the starter floats before mixing it into flour, etc. to make bread, it worked fabulously.

I would definitely weigh the flour and water, rather than measure by volume, if I were you.

(Some years ago, I tried to get a viable starter going using volume measures. It was a nightmare.)