The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Stiff starter has no life

All rise's picture
All rise

Stiff starter has no life

 I've been following this forum for about 5 months now and appreciate all the good information available here. About 4 weeks ago I converted my 100% hydration starter 50/50 rye and bread flour to a 50% hydration starter. My goal is to make a more sour loaf of bread. I took 67 grams of the ripe starter and added 33 grams of flour 1/2 rye 1/2 bread flour, mixed and let it rise about 25%. I placed it in a container with plastic wrap and a lid then into the fridge. After 2 weeks I removed 5 grams and refreshed it 1:3:3 along with my 100% hydration starter. After 8 hours the 100% starer more than doubled while the stiff starter only made it to about a 75% rise. I repeated the refreshment with the same ratios and after 8 hours the 100% starter tripled and the stiff starter made it to double. I bake a loaf with both starters, same recipe. The stiff starter loaf did not rise as much as the other loaf but close. There was a very slight difference in flavor. 2 weeks later I attempted to repeat the same task. this time when I remove the stiff starter from the fridge it had a very sour smell to it, like vinegar, which initially I was excited about but when when I refreshed it 1:3:3 the mixture did not rise at all. I repeated with another piece of stiff starter and had the same results. Both starters are kept in the same fridge which is not used much so there is very little of opening and closing of the door. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.                                                                   

Vinnie

  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

takes a little more time than what you described.  Let it work on the flour until peaked, not just 25% risen.  Then use at least 10 g and feed again to make 50% hydration and again let it ferment to peak.  The first round to peak usually takes a while but with more consecutive feeding, the yeast will build up and starter will take less time to peak.  

After several days of feeding tuck away in the fridge when about 33% risen.  Give the starter about 4 days before using directly.  To use earlier, let the inoculation ferment longer before using it.   Use the discard in a hybrid loaf with some added yeast if desired.  

Usually making a firm starter tends to make a less sour tasting bread because the process boosts yeasts.  

All rise's picture
All rise

 Thanks Mini. Will the the stiff starter produce a more sour loaf as it ages in the fridge or is this better achieved by manipulating the the bulk fermentation and or proofing stages. I have tried a few recipes that say they will produce a more sour loaf, weekendbakery.com/posts/san-francisco-style-sourdough-bread/ . The loaves turn out ok but have no sour flavor. If you have a go to recipe for a good sour bread, I would love to try it.

Vinnie

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Include some wholegrain in the levain build. 

Use the levain when very ripe. Wait an hour after peaking before using. 

You can retard a levain to produce more flavour. 

So too you can retard the final dough.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and the dough during fermentation to get more sour than mess with the mother starters.  

All rise's picture
All rise

 I will apply some of these methods in my bake this weekend. 

Thanks again for your input.