So I made a new starter this week
I cannot bake everyday and have to save it for one (or possibly two) special bakes over the weekend but I can make a starter. As many of you know I do like to make starters for fun and to test myself how quickly it can be done. It also enables me to try different ideas/methods as we're all continually learning. So I put together this starter on Monday night and by Thursday night I "believe" it was a fully fledged starter. Fed it one more time to confirm and it performed nicely. If I was being generous with myself I'd say this was a 3 day starter but I suppose 9 hours into the 4th day is more accurate.
- The flour I used was whole-wheat Red Fife kindly given to me by HansB on one of his trips to London.
- I used a small jar within a large jar. Prevents any spillages and provides insulation.
- Kept it 100% hydration and started off small.
- Water was taken from the kettle which had been boiled and cooled.
1. Monday night : 25g water + 25g flour. Not much by happened by Tuesday morning but by Tuesday evening after work it had doubled. The smell was quite pleasant.
2. Tuesday night : to the 50g starter I added 25g water + 25g flour. By the morning it had more than tripled. Not such an unpleasant smell I would have expected but definitely some leuconostoc activity going on. Sort of a sweet sickly smell of overripe fruit. I left it till the evening for the next feed. Didn't wish to be feeding the bad bacteria and wanted them to be spent before I continued.
3. Wednesday night : Took off 50g starter and fed the remaining 50g with 25g water + 25g flour. This is a feed of 1:0.5:0.5. I purposefully did a poorer feeding than 1:1:1 as while I wanted to feed the yeasts and good bacteria I didn't wish to raise the PH level which is trying to drop in order to support the yeasts and bacteria within a starter. So I wanted a balance between providing food but not upsetting the PH level. By Thursday morning we had growth. Not much but something was happening even though I was fully expecting the "quiet period". The slightly off sweet smell of the night before had gone and it had a lovely aroma which was fresh and fruity. I left it till I came home from work to feed again.
4. Thursday night : It had continued to grow and had doubled. Smell was lovely. One of a young but viable starter. I think I can call it 3 days from start to finish but need to be sure and fed it again. Same as Wednesday night. Kept 50g and fed it 25g water + 25g flour. Friday morning it had doubled. No delayed quiet period. A very brief slightly off smell on day two but now it had a lovely smell. It's different to a long established starter, more fresh and floral. No trouble in rising. I won't bake with it just yet as it's not the weekend but I will continue to feed it and now the yeasts are live and kicking from here on in I'll switch to 1:1:1 to further strengthen it with stronger feeds.
Some thoughts are.... Perhaps I had a very good batch of flour. It was a good idea to use a small jar within a large jar and it provided good insulation. The feeding schedule was good. I was lucky!