The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

new to sourdough and it's dormant? or worse?

chelsea01's picture

new to sourdough and it's dormant? or worse?

I started a sourdough starter about a week ago using Paul Hollywood's flour/water and a grated wild apple. After 2 days it bubbled up so much it overflowed the jar. Following Paul's recipe I fed it by discarding half and since then it has pretty well done nothing. I think I am confused about when to feed it. I understand from reading  that perhaps I have fed it too much and discarded too much of the right yeast. The past few days it just sits and develops some fairly clear liquid on top and smells very faintly of vinegar and is runny like thin pancake batter. There do not appear to be any bubbles this morning. During the day it sits not far from the wood stove and is about 70 to 80 F. Since our house cools down to 61F at night the last 2 nights I have put it in the oven with just the light on. What next? Do I need to pitch it and start again, or is there still hope?

Thanks for your help!

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Recipes rarely explain that after the initial bubbling up there will often be a quiet period.

What one should do if this happens is stop feeding, keep warm and stir every now and again.

What one should not do is increase the feeds trying to "wake it up".

Best thing to do now is take a break, try to keep it warm and stir instead of feeding. When it "wakes up" start the feedings again but from here on in only feed when it needs feeding. Once it bubbles up on cue every time it is fed then it is ready.

P.s. it sounds very runny. When it comes to feeding next I'd only add some wholegrain flour. Wholegrain rye even better! Thicken it up. After which you increase the feeds slowly. The stronger it gets the better the feed.

So you might see some bubbles in the next few days - thicken it up.

A day or so later you might see a little more activity - take 1/4 out and replace

A day or so after that it seems to bubble up more - take 1/2 out and top up.

When it gets really strong your starter should have no issue with a feed of - take off 2/3rds and replace. And it'll bubble up within a few hours and smell good!

chelsea01's picture

Thanks. I do have some rye flour so will keep an eye on it and add that when the time is right.