The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How can I increase the time between feeding starter

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

How can I increase the time between feeding starter

How can I increase the time between feeding starter? I've been watching BreadBabies "Reverse Tutorial" post and became inquisitive about my starter. So I performed a test using 4 different types of starter mixes.

5-10-10 Ground Whole Rye
5-50-50 Ground Hard White Wheat with 1 Salt - Abe's Recipe - (The Salt didn't seem to make a difference)
10-25-50 Mix of 40 Bread Flour and 10 Ground Whole Rye - Abe's idea - (54.5% Hydration)
10-100-100 Bread Flour mix


I place all 4 of the sealed test bottles in a Brod and Taylor proofer and set the temperature to 76° The shots below are taken at beginning of test and then the bottles are marked 8 hours later. In all cases when I came back to record the progress at 11 hours, none of them had risen any more. Actually, I checked the starters after 8 hours (@ 4 AM) and marked the bottles, but the actual photos weren't taken until 11 hours later. I looked closely to see if the starters had risen more and then receded but I could find no indication of that.

Why did all 4 starters maximize the rise @ 8 hours even though the mix was very different and the flours varied?

How can I extend the time between feedings?

Do you think the starter below is the most powerful. At 55% hydration it was able to over double in 8 hours. Lifting the heavy weight should have been more difficult than the others. By-the-way, I kneaded this into a ball but pushed it flat inside the bottle for testing accuracy.

Update; I noticed in the image below that I showed starter : water : flour I believe the convention on the TFL is starter : flour : water. I get confused because I see it listed different wayes on different sites. Too bad Bread bakers couldn’t get on the same page concerning all things bread. Including baker’s percentage.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

The purpose of the two I suggested was not for speed. Although I would have expected a difference in how quickly they mature. Both of them should have been slower than a simple 100% hydration with the same percentage of starter. 

My idea behind the salt version was to encourage just the stronger yeast/bacteria. And the lower hydration was to encourage more yeast growth. 

I see you have a nice strong starter there. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

But why did all 4 starters rise the same amount of time? Even the one with salt?

How can I lengthen the feeding schedul? I feel like if I don’t re-feed every 8 hours, the starter will begin to starve and start to lose potency. 

Am I correct in assuming that the low hydration ball is the most potent?

What Say You?

Dan

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

5-10-10 Ground Whole Rye : the ratio of starter to flour is 1:2
5-50-50 Ground Hard White Wheat with 1 Salt : 1:10
10-25-50 Mix of 40 Bread Flour and 10 Ground Whole Rye : 1:5
10-100-100 Bread Flour mix : 1:10

If you would have kept the starter to flour ratio the same and just changed the hydration, and/or added salt, andused different flour then it might be a better comparison. 

So we need a basic build and that would be the 10-100-100 starter-water-bread flour

Then experiment 1: change the flour

Experiment 2: change the hydration

Experiment 3: add the 2% salt

 

But if you change the flour and add salt plus the starter % we don't know what causes it to speed up or slow down. One variable might cause it to speed up. The other to slow down. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Other than slowing a starter, how do you think salt will affect the yeast and Lab?

Abe, you should get paid to do this. Your help is invaluable.

Thanks,

Dan

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

People to ask about this on this forum. 

I am under the impression that the lower hydration will build a strong starter tipping it in favour of yeast. But you compromise on the tang. 

So a dough made from a lower hydration starter (fermented at the optimal temperature for yeast growth which you'll have to check up on) but then retarded in the fridge for the final proof should give a good rise with a nice flavour. 

Check out this video...

Pane cafone (Neapolitan peasant bread) - original Italian recipe










 Resulting loaf is very flavoursome but not tangy. Rather like an intense Biga bread. 

P.s. it's not clear in the video but the final proof is done in the fridge. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Am I correct to assume that yeast is the power to do the heavy lifting (raising) of the dough? And also that the Lab provide the acidic flavor, BUT don’t do much to raise the bread?

Inquiring minds want to know. 

Thanks

Dan

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

But that is my belief too. A starter which has become too acidic and therefore bacterial will suffer with leavening power. It's the yeasts that are the power house and the bacteria is behind the flavour. 

BreadBabies's picture
BreadBabies

I was looking for the reference from Debra's work. I do recall reading it and it has been a seed in my mind during these experiments where she says that LAB could hypothetically raise bread due to their fermentation processes, but in actual practice they fall short.  For that reason, I do think my problem is likely the LAB doing the work of raising a loose starter, but not being able to raise bread.

I wish I could find the reference link where that is discussed...as I always hate paraphrasing people who have much more knowledge then me...but alas, the post eludes me.

So much to learn....

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

This a taken from a blog posting by Peter Reinhart. 

 I have been receiving e-mails from readers of the "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" (the BBA for short) about a problem that our recipe testers have already faced--sourdough (i.e., wild yeast) starters that bubble away early and then go dormant. I have addressed this in American Pie and will do so with more detail in the upcoming whole grains book, but this is for those new folks who are writing to me, so I can refer them to this site for a quick explanation and solution.

     Through the work of a diligent group of home bakers at the King Arthur Baking Circle (www.kingarthurflour.com), led by one of our current testers, Debbie Wink, it was discovered that a strain of bacteria called leuconostoc exists in a lot of flour (moreso now, it seems than a few years ago). This bacteria masquerades as yeast in the early stage of a seed culture starter, in that it generates a lot of carbon dioxide making it appear that the wid yeast cells are growing rapidly. However, the wild yeast really needs a more acidic environment than exists during the first few days of the starter's existence and, unfortunately, the leuconostoc interferes with yeast growth during this grand masquerade. At a certain point, as the bacteria causes the dough to become more acidic, the acid actually de-activates the leuconostoc (it actually contributes to its own demise), but the wild yeast have not had a chance to propogate and grow in numbers, so there is a domancy period in which nothing seems to be happening. Many folks have assumed they killed their starter when it did not seem to respond to a Day 3 or Day 4 feeding, and threw it out. Others waited and saw mold form on the top of the starter and, of course, they too threw it out. That's about the time I start getting their e-mails. So here are two solutions to the problem:

    First, if you are starting from scratch, use canned pineapple juice instead of water during the first two days of feeding. The acid in the juice is just at the right ph level to acidify the dough to the yeast's liking but not to the leuconostoc. The starter should then work as written. You should then switch to back to water from Day Three onward, and slowly the pineapple juice will dilute out as you feed and refresh your starter over time.

    Second, and this is a big breakthrough I think, you should stir your seed culture starter two or three times a day, for about one minute each time, to aerate it. Yeast loves oxygen and multiplies faster when you stimulate the mixture with air. In addition, the stirring evens out the hydration of the dough and exposes any surface organisms that may have drifted onto the starter to the acidic environment within, and thus deactivates them while the yeast and the good lactobacillus organisms continue to grow. I've lost count of how many people solved their starter problem simply by this aeration technique. Once your starter is fully established it will be healthy enough to not need this added process, but it would be wise, I think, to continue the aeration throughout the seed culture phase.

    If you are already into the process of beginning a seed culture but did not know about the "pineapple juice solution," fret not. Just begin the frequent aeration and see what happens. Most likely, your starter will come to life and when it does, it will probably stay on the schedule as written in the book.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I'm taking Abe's advice and starting a new test tonight.

From Left to Right
5 + 50 + 25 plus 1 salt --- (40 BF + 10 Whole Rye) ---
5 + 50 + 25                  --- (40 BF + 10 Whole Rye) ---
5 + 50 + 25 plus 1 salt --- (Whole Rye) ---
5 + 50 + 25                  --- (Whole Rye) ---

All Starters are place in a Brod & Taylor Proofer that is set to 76°.

-------------- NOTE, for a more magnified view hold down the Ctrl key and hit the "+" key at the same time. To decrease view Ctrl + "-" ----------------

-------- AFTER 4 HOURS --------

You can notice that all samples have humps. As expected both of the sample with 1 gram of salt are raising slower. This is much more pronounced in the Bread Flour/Rye sample. The Rye with salt is slightly smaller than the Rye without.

 -------- AFTER 8 HOURS --------
At first look the Rye is not acting well. But the BF/Rye, both of them are gaining height. I estimate the Rye w/o salt has at least doubled and the Rye with salt, maybe 1 1/2.

-------- AFTER 12 HOURS --------
In the 12 hour image you can see that I marked the rise for the 8 hour duration. Forgot to include that in the image above. NOTE - I didn't mark the 12 hr rise because there was no difference. Even though the BF/Rye w/o salt exceeding all other by far up to this point it has now began to deflate. I'm watching the BR/Rye with salt to see how long it continues to grow, if any. It seems the Rye only is not feasible with a lump of dough this low in hydration (55%).

Stay tuned. I still plan to test the rise of the BF/Rye with salt. All others appear to be kaput.

Why are the starters ceasing to grow after 8 hours?

Is this normal?

If the dough ball only grows 8 hours, would a 24 hour cold proof continue to grow or would the yeast die back?

"inquiring minds want to know"
Dan

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Looking forward to results. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

every few hours at first and then every hour because you are dealing with several kinds of flour that act differently as they rise and once they are "peaked" visually.    I think I see 50% hydration   ...starter + flour + water ?

My observations:  Rye starter from doughy to 100% hydration will peak but form a crusty like dome and look risen when in fact the culture has fallen inside the sample leaving it hollow and available to rise a second time without noticing... unless one were to gently prod the rising dome and see if it is indeed solid.  100% Rye doesn't rise any more after 8 hours (a funny coincidence?)  it falls apart, as it just can't trap gas anymore.  Add glutinous flour and the ability to trap gas extends.  Be very observant and prod your samples as they rise.  Take in aromas too and bubble size and distribution for each sample.

The other consideration here is that sourdough yeast and their numbers are only being judged on the ability of the wet flour to trap gas and rise.  Do remember that as their numbers increase, they are searching for food and water to multiply.  The type of yeast they are and their ability to move around and get to the food influences how fast they can populate the dough.  Don't forget they are living organisms.  

Rye at 50% hydration cannot trap gas and rise as well as rye at 85% hydration.  Bread flour will also be pretty darn stiff until it deteriorates long enough to start stretching.  Salt will stiffen it more than without.  I would like to see a way of trapping any escaped gas over these samples.   A deflated air tight sandwich bag for example, and tighten the rubber band to prevent leaking.  Might be interesting.  

Just a few comments....  :)   

Your Mini

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

You are one sharp lady, Mini. I love your humor and I'm amazed at your intelligence. I've made this statement too many times to count, "it scares me to think what I could have accomplished in this life, if I were smarter". My success in life is strictly due to my tenacity.

You said, "Rye starter from doughy to 100% hydration will peak but form a crusty like dome and look risen when in fact the culture has fallen inside the sample leaving it hollow and available to rise a second time without noticing... unless one were to gently prod the rising dome and see if it is indeed solid.  100% Rye doesn't rise any more after 8 hours (a funny coincidence?)  it falls apart, as it just can't trap gas anymore.  Add glutinous flour and the ability to trap gas extends." Since most all of my starter is fed with Whole Rye, I have become familiar with the crusty dome and the fact that they don't continue to rise over 8 hours. BUT, I never figured in the lack of gluten. That explains a lot. You made that statement before I posted the 4 hour image and sure enough the starter with 40 Bread Flour and 10 Whole Rye with no salt rose the best by far. The gluten solves that question for me. Thanks for taking the time to help.

Dan

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

what one sample with only BF would do. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Mini, I thought that fresh ground grain were the best feed, since all of the grain was included. i'm curious. Do you think BF might be better that fresh ground wheat?       What say you?

I may run more test, I am known to be very tenacious.

Dan

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to slow down the starter between feeds?  

I never feed my maintenance starter bread flour don't want the gluten gumming up the works.  I don't like fresh ground either.   Good for starting starters where a wide variety of bacteria and yeast are desired but to maintain, not big on introducing so many more "organisms" to the party.  

"How can I increase the time between feeds?"   Pick one or more of the following and then find the parameters 

  • raise the amount of flour in the starter  
  • reduce liquids/hydration  
  • reduce temperature (cold ingredients, chill)
  • add salt
  • use sifted instead of whole flours  (think endosperm)
  • reduce the size of the inoculation 
  • don't stir the starter 

That's what comes to mind off the top of my head.

Portus's picture
Portus

... only yesterday I stirred my "dabrownman starter" before building a levain.  Have I irretrievably blown its hibernation, or can I save the day by now stirring in the opposite direction?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

  Stirring encourages growth by re-distributing food and moving waste products away from the microbes.  This tends to speed up the fermenting process.  Most tend to stir clockwise but that is a right handed point of view.  Do left handers stir counter-clockwise?   I would think that stirring to the opposite natural flow of particles would be more efficient in mixing.  Or a bit of both.  Rising gas bubbles also stir a starter.  A low hydration starter will not stir itself and often takes longer to ferment.

There are all kinds of ways to manipulate "yeast growth" in a starter and in building a levain.  Find out what works for your starter.  Not all starters have the same distribution of microbes and change over the day as the starter ferments.  More flour, less flour, more temp, less temp, these are the most common ways to manipulate the starter along with the amount of culture being fed.  

You don't have to sell me on "dabrownman starter."  It works.  ... I haven't heard anyone saying it didn't.  It saves a lot of stress, time, flour and fuss.   

I suppose the next question (after looking at the incomplete list I made)  would be ... which adjustments would give more time between feedings yet increase yeast in the starter as it is feeding?   My answer would be (assuming the starter is in good shape) the firm starter, feeding more flour and letting it ferment at a temperature that encourages yeast growth over bacterial growth.  Let it show signs of life and mature fully letting the bacteria bounce back to protection levels before taking part of it to make more starter.   Repeat several times until predictable.   Then chill it at least half fermented until the next feeding.  

The more fermented it is (don't forget the amount of starter used is pre-fermented) the sooner it has to be used and replaced.  It doesn't have to be large.  A ping pong or golf ball sized ball of fed starter is enough and doesn't crowd the fridge  or rise so high as to become a monster.  It is also a good way to make a "back-up" starter.  It can be bagged after cooling and tossed into a jar with other starters resting in the fridge as "back-ups."  Be sure to date and add details like type of flour, favourite behaviour etc. to the bag.  Warnings go on the jar...  Starters!  Keep refrigerated!  Keep Out!  SAVE!   

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

a bit to make a loaf of bread each week.  If you put a piece of tape on the lid with an arrow showing which way you stirred it last time, you can easily switch the arrow to face the other way each week and know for certain which way to stir to keep these finicky organisms in line.  This really helps keep the ultra smart wee beasties from taking advantage of the less smart ones in the mix .  This is really helpful - especially if you are trying to make peasant brown bread instead of elite white bread :-)

Portus's picture
Portus

... the Coriolis effect wins hands down - stir clockwise in the northern, and anti-clockwise in the southern, hemispheres.  Or is it vice-versa, or neither; oh darn it....

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

On the equator?

Portus's picture
Portus

... a "non-starter"??

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

v.good!

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

My 50% hydration builds have never been 100% rye. 

Now the usual 50% hydration build I do - 40g bread flour + 10g whole grain - is showing some good results. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Abe, Whole grain wheat or whole grain rye?  Did you suggest wheat or rye for the 10% whole grain?

In the past I was feeding my starter 100% whole grain rye @ 100% hydration. Was I missing the boat?

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

It's just to get some wholegrain in there. Sometimes I use rye and sometimes I use while wheat. But I think I said rye and as long as you've kept it consistent. 

Your experiment is good! The 40g bread flour + 10g whole rye @ 50% hydration without the salt peaked and has begun to fall. The one with the salt in it is still holding the dome. 

The salt slowed the fermentation. 

Now we can see what's happening visually! And as mini pointed out what's going on within the starter? Smell is one way and baking will be the other way. Have these lower hydration starters increased the yeast population? 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

After repeated various testings I am unable to greatly extend the growth period. And what I’ve found about my starter is that they grow well UP TO 8 hours. After 8 hours there is very little or no growth at all. The results have been consistent.

Has anyone else tested for this? Tested to verify how long their starter actually grows?

Note; I have found that my growth results are better if I use mostly bread flour mixed with 5 - 10% whole ground rye or wheat, rye being best. 

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Is temperature or using a big % difference in starter to fresh flour.

Your experiments have shown that adding salt or changing hydration does extend the growth period but not to a great extent.

The starters themselves will be different. Not by how fast they grown but rather their characteristics.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I tested with refrigerated water. They initially grew slow but they ceased to grow after 8 hours or so. 

Testing with 2% salt produced the same results also. 

My starters are growing a total of about 2 1/2 times.

Abe would you mind testing your starter and determining how long it actually grows?

Dan

btw, I have a known good starter being mailed to me now. I plan to run comparative test when it arrives. 

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Nor can I conduct an extensive test like you have done. Don't forget that liquid starters are also difficult to judge as they tend to froth and bubble and not always have that rising and peaking. some low hydration starters may peak and stay peaked for some time.

What I can do for you Dan is when it comes to baking i'll build a levain and get back to you with the type of build I have done and observations. Will also give you the average temperature.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Liquid starter - hard to judge. I can see that the starter has not risen past a certain height, because it sticks to the side of the glass. 

As far as temperatures, I started leaving the starters out hoping for cooler temps. I estimate 64 - 76.

I‘d appreciate any test results. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Wow, Trevor the new site look is outstanding!

I'm concerned about my starter. It seems healthy and is working. But as I read your book for the second time I want to make sure that my starter is "all that it can be". I"m going to bake bread with geourgeous open crumb, if I can live long enough. ;-) I've done a lot of individual test and all of the test point to the fact that the starter is peaking at 8 hours and near that time it starts to fall.

An excerpt from your book.

"2) Build to peak activity -- We've already discussed what peak activity looks like in our starter. And it's important to build up a starter that can achieve peak activity within 8 hours or so."

My concern --- starter peaks in 8 hours for all (12 or more) test. If I feed twice a day the starter will have over-fermented by 4 hours each time.

Is my starter normal? Or should it rise fail to deflate throughout the 12 hour ferment?

Thanks, Trevor
Dan Ayo

I know I'm anal. To that my wife of 30+ years will wholeheartedly agree. BUT,
"inquiring minds want to know"

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Hi Dan, I didn't go through the whole thread, so forgive me if some of this has already been covered. Feel free to paste this over at TFL if you like.

 Starter issues are always tricky to diagnose since there are so many different variables at play. Unless someone is actually there with you in person to see your starter and procedure for themselves -- to be able to read the signs -- any advice they give is just speculation. But I'll offer what advice I can . . .  First off, let's discuss two separate issues: 1) Maintenance Starter, and 2) Bread Starter (or Levain, or Leaven, or whatever you like to call it). 1) Ultimately, a starter's health and activity potential is determined by the maintenance routine it's given. Consistent routines produce consistent (predictable) results. Inconsistent routines produce inconsistent results. The most important goal in sourdough baking is to develop an effective maintenance routine for your starter. Happy starter = quality bread. In my experience, twice-a-day (every 12 hours) refreshment (at comfortable room temps) is best for developing the kind of starter activity that makes for an extremely open crumb. Note, a starter doesn't have to be super active to make nice bread. But for that wide open crumb that you are seeking, starter activity is key -- and this kind of schedule will give you the best chance at achieving it. Now, if you build your maintenance starter to peak at around 8 hours, then yes, it will be a bit overfermented by the time you actually feed it 4 hours later. That overfermentation can eventually build up into an overly acidic starter in time, unless you periodically do a massive discard to remove the acid load. But, there's no sense in building the starter to peak at 8 hours when you intend to feed it after 12. Better to just let it peak around 12 hours. This is where experimentation, observation, and trial and error come in. For a liquid starter, common ratios might range from 1:2:2 to 1:5:5. Ideally, the starter will increase activity so that the seed ratio becomes smaller and smaller -- that means less starter is required to raise the dough in the same time frame. A starter that peaks (to the point of just starting to recede) at 12 hours with a 1:5:5 ratio is a more active starter than one that was built at a 1:2:2 ratio and takes just as long to peak. For stiffer starters, you might be looking at ratios ranging from 1:1:2 to 1:3:6 or so. Again, these things vary and no perfect ratio prescription can be given. And it's likely you may need to change up your routine from time to time based on the feedback you get from your starter. 2) For the starter you intend to make bread with (levain/leaven, if you like), this is where you need to consider maximizing activity. When I write "build to peak activity", this is the starter that I'm referring to -- not your maintenance starter. I probably could've phrased this better since it's not entirely clear what I mean. To me, peak activity doesn't necessarily mean the starter has actually peaked (i.e. reached full height and just started to recede), it simply means that fermentation is basically going full throttle -- the starter is rising and it's rising very quickly.  If your starter can triple in volume within 8 hours of a 1:2:2 refreshment (or maybe 1:1:2 for a stiff starter) at room temp then you have a starter that's reached peak activity (as I think of it, anyway). For bread with an extremely open crumb, being able to achieve that peak activity within 8 hours is beneficial. But note, that does not mean that you need to use your starter at peak activity (at the 8 hour mark). A healthy starter that can achieve that level of activity in that time frame can actually be used at a wide range of intervals -- 3 hours old to 10 hours old, or thereabouts. Different maturities will affect the dough differently, but you can get great bread from any of them. The key is simply that your starter is capable of achieving that kind of activity. Not that it be at that activity level.  Putting it all together -- An ideal maintenance schedule would be refreshing your starter twice a day, as mentioned, where it reaches peak (just starts to dimple or recede) at around 12 hours in comfortable room temps. The longer you maintain this schedule (while making sure to keep acid build-up under control) the more active your starter will become. Over time, your starter should require smaller and smaller seeds in order to peak at around 12 hours. You may start off feeding it at 1:2:2 but eventually you notice that your starter is peaking too early and starting to build up acid, and so you start refreshing at 1:3:3 . . . then perhaps 1:4:4 down the road. After a few months of this routine you should have a strong thriving starter capable of producing a powerful leaven. So when you actually make the leaven for your dough, you have many options -- you can feed it at the same ratio as you do for maintenance, use it anywhere from 6-12 hours old, and know that you'll get a good rise and great bread. Or, if you're looking for a more exaggerated open crumb, then you can feed it with a higher seed ratio (if your maintenance is 1:4:4, then perhaps your leaven will be 1:2:2). The leaven will rise quicker than your maintenance starter because of the greater seed -- it is more active. It might triple in volume at around 6-8 hours, but you can use it from 3-10 hours, or thereabouts. You might even go all out, feed your leaven at 1:1:1 and use the leaven after just 2-4 hours.  The greater the activity you can induce from your leaven (without overfermenting it) the greater the potential you'll have for achieving an extremely open crumb.  And please note, all this advice is geared towards just that -- achieving an extremely open crumb. You don't need to go to these lengths (i.e. twice-a-day refreshments) to make great bread with a nice open crumb. Also, just because you do go to these lengths does not guarantee that you will get an extremely open crumb -- there are other factors involved as well (like dough handling and how you manage the bulk fermentation). This advice is simply to help maximize starter health/activity to give you the best possible chance at getting that open crumb. Can you get wild open crumb from a starter kept in the fridge? Yes, but in my experience it is more difficult. Typically, the more refreshments you give it at room temp before adding to your dough the better. Again, if it can reach that nice activity level where it's capable of tripling in volume within 8 hours with a 1:2:2 feed then you'll have a better chance. Even so, I've found that (with my starters) it's still less likely for me to get ridiculously open crumb from a refrigerated starter -- even after several room temp refreshments, and even if my leaven will triple within 8 hours of refreshment.  Why?  I don't know. But experience has taught me that over time, starters kept at room temp are more likely to develop the ability to create the kind of fermentation necessary for achieving that style of crumb. And it does take time -- sometimes several months of regular feeding at room temp twice per day to become capable of achieving that kind of fermentation. Maybe it has something to do with different strains of yeast/bacteria that come to dominate under that kind of maintenance routine? I'm sure there are folks here better equipped to answer that question than me. I know I probably didn't address your issue specifically here Dan, but specifics aren't something I can really provide from a distance. But what I hope this (very long) answer will provide is a bit of a bigger picture. If you have the big picture, and when you learn how to understand your starter's rhythms and read its signs, then you can intelligently piece together a starter routine that works well for you and your specific needs and goals. The less you have to guess the better.  I wish you good luck in your quest to achieve gorgeous open crumb! Cheers! Trevor
DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Since I’m starting to question my rise duration of my starter. I also plan to test the duration of my Levain rise. As a home baker my Levain generally runs from 80 to 120 grams. I ferment the in a 2 qt Cambro container. It is too wide for accurate rise testing. So I’m awaiting delivery of a straight sided glass beaker that is only 4 inches wide. This should facilitate    a more accurate testing result.

The reason for all of this testing is because I’m concerned that the starter and maybe the Levain is not growing after 8 hr.  My thought - if this is the case I am over-fermenting. If the total growth time is 8 hours, that would make feeding at optimal time difficult. I can’t figure out how to extend the ferment (growth) period. I’ve run out of testing ideas. My next known step is to try the known good starter. 

Portus's picture
Portus

... careful your starters do not become aware of all your permutations; they may play mind games and adopt the strategy of "paralysis of analysis"!

An option could be to play background music: according to Congreve, "Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast", Prince Charles reputedly serenaded his crops with classical music and the Koreans have proof that music can influence plants -

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/earthnews/3305158/Beethoven-can-help-crops-grow-more-quickly.html

Joe

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

You've got me laughing from my belly. Even St. Nick would be proud of that laugh. hahaha

I'm still laughing. I hope it last throughout the day. We all need to laugh more...

Merry Christmas

PS; I'm still laughing, wiping tears from my eyes. THANKS

Dan

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

BUT, I still want to know.

Still laughing...

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Build the Levain and leave for 12-14 hours (for example only). 

Well firstly one can use a starter from young - mature depending on results wished for.  

Then one has to take into account when it was last fed and how long it's been sitting in the fridge.  

There will also be variables with different starters.  Some are more yeast based and others bacterial. Then there are different types of yeast and bacteria. 

As long as you can read yours and know when to use. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Thanks for everyone who posted. I tried all of the suggestions, including singing and stirring, but still the starter starts to decline after 8 hours. The reason I moved the post is because I fear that the multitude of information may turn some away. I quit posting images because I didn't want to overload the post. I did link this post in the new one.

It is posted here

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/54661/im-desperate-learn-why-my-starter-will-not-rise-past-8-hours

Dan

Portus's picture
Portus

… and your research is perhaps akin to the Gompertz theoretical law of mortality, first suggested and applied by a Mr. Benjamin Gompertz in 1825. He fitted it to the relationship between increasing death rate and age for what he quaintly referred to as “the average exhaustions of a man’s power to avoid death”, or the “portion of his remaining power to oppose destruction”.  This evolved over time to be applied and model growth in a variety of applications. 

I subjoin a link to a scholarly article that may provide a compass point in your quest for the truth!  I understand, in simple terms, that the theory is partly premised upon growth being slowest at the start and at the end of a period of time, where it tapers off.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5459448/