The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lack of sourdough rise and starter performance

ckstuart's picture
ckstuart

Lack of sourdough rise and starter performance

I have baked several sourdoughs over the past three weeks and am just not getting the rise and open crumb I would expect. Both the FWSY Country Blonde and the Tartine Basic Country Bread formulas turn out with similar results. I have experimented with increased and decreased bulk and proof times and have not seen a difference in rise. Is it possible my starter is not active enough?

In 10 to 12 hours my starter doubles in volume. I’ve seen it mentioned on this forum that some won’t use their starter until it at least doubles in 5-6 hours. Mine has never doubled that fast. After 12 hours the starter will collapse and recede and does not increase more than double. I consistently feed it twice a day and keep in a proofing box at 75F.

I first made my 100% hydration starter 4 weeks ago with 50/50 white/rye flour (50g white + 50g rye + 100g water) feeding once a day. On day 2 there was a doubling in rise presumably due to Leuconostoc. I continued to feed daily and on day 7 it started to become active. It consistently doubled in 10 to 12 hours and on day 9 I started baking with it.

I now maintain the starter with twice daily refreshments of 40g starter + 20g white + 20g rye + 40g water.

Photo of starter is 9 hours after refreshment with the rubber band indicating the initial volume.

Any help would be appreciated! I’m not sure if this is a starter issue or something else in my methods.

phaz's picture
phaz

After it rises and falls stir it well and see if it rises again and how much. 10+ hrs seems a little slow at those temps.

Lechem's picture
Lechem

and try feeding it 1:2:2 allowing it to peak before each feed. Better feeds and peaking each time should help increase the yeasts.

It might not be an issue at all but it's worth a try to use boiled water which has been cooled!

ckstuart's picture
ckstuart

I fed 1:2:2 as you suggested and I’m seeing much improved starter performance. It doubled in 9 hours and then tripled in about 18 hours and started to fall. I fed a second 1:2:2 feeding and 10 hours later it has tripled and collapsed. This was at 75F in proofing box. Maybe my innoculation percentag was too high? 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

And allowing it to peak before feeding again increases yeast population. 

Increase the feed to 1:3:3 and get the temp up to 80F. 

Sounds like it's doing very well.