The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Question about an old starter of my grandma

TheUninvited's picture
TheUninvited

Question about an old starter of my grandma

So this starter my grandma used to make my mother put it in the refrigerator ,it's being there for a while like years xD it was like rock. And then there was some molded parts that we took off. and then i try to activate with oil water and the old starter and left it for a night next day morning i added the flour and water and mix it. and this is how it looks like now so i would like to ask you.

Is my starter ready to use? Does the starter needs to flow on the glass of water to be fine or it does not matter? And most of all is it healthy?

 

https://youtu.be/Zo_eE5mfMu0

clazar123's picture
clazar123

Old starters can give you a head start on developing a culture of yeasts and lactos that have already been proven to work together-if they survived. A new culture has to build the neighborhood-grandma already did that and as dry and mangled as it looked, they just went dormant.

The video was helpful but it still can't tell me if your starter is ready to work . It does look good,though. Nice bubbles.

 A few more questions:

What does it smell like? Yeast? Sweet?Fruity? Nail-polish remover?

How does it behave? It is certainly bubbly. Does it rise after a feeding? In what time frame?

What is the room temp? Yeasts love a temp that is 72-82F (just like people!)

How are you feeding it?

Just an FYI-you can work with a much smaller quantity to make feeding/discarding easier and more economical. Just take a few tablespoons into a clean pint jar with a lid. Use that as your seed culture to feed and develop. It is very easy to build it up to any quantity for a recipe when you want to bake but you don't have to be feeding and discarding gallons of starter. As for the rest, make pancakes, discard down the drain or just put back in the refrigerator in a clean,covered jar.Your choice.

So put your seed culture (a few tablespoons of starter) in a clear pint or quart jar. Feed and water, stirring well and then scraping sides clean. Put a label at the level it is at and mark the time. Every few hours, look at the rise. When it starts falling, mark the max height it achieved along with the time. In 12-24 hours,let us know how much it rose (perhaps double, just a little, or even tripled) and in what amount of time. If it doesn't rise at all during the day after feeding, stir it occasionally and scrape the sides clean and continue to watch. Just stir (don't feed again) if there is no rise. If it doesn't rise, there isn't enough yeast feeding to produce CO2. They have plenty of food. Feed again when there is rise.

EDIT: Make it at least a thick pancake batter consistency so it will show a rise and not just bubble. If it is too thin, there isn't enough structure to actually raise the level in the jar-the bubbles just come to the surface and break. ALSO-keep the lid a little loose so there is no pressure buildup. The lid is just to keep it from drying and keep the fruitflies and other flies ot-they love this stuff! A paper-towel or cloth rubberbanded on can work,too.

Making a starter is like child-rearing. You will get TONS of advice-some good, some complicated, some just isn't what you want to do and some great for your situation. You decide what works for you and follow it. Many roads lead to successful starter and a great loaf of bread.

The best advice is to have fun,learn something and really enjoy the memory of Grandma every time you use the starter. Wonderful heritage.

TheUninvited's picture
TheUninvited

I just did as you told me , i put it into a small base and now after 2 days it smells Nail-polish remover, and is bubbly as well, i think this time i am gonna make it xD

i have 2 other questions if you know to answer.

So lets say i make a starter from zero and i have it for like 3 days and then i use that starter to make bread even if the starter is not ready, so is it a bad idea ? I am talking about health.

2 question is in my grandma i used all purpose flour and now i want to mix it with whole wheat flour how can i do that should i use the starter+50g all purpose +50g whole wheat flour?

 

breadboy025's picture
breadboy025

i was always taught that discarding the starter into the drain puts the drains at major risk for clogging, so to just put it into the trash.  I generally put this stuff into a bag to keep it neater.

Anyone have experience with this?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

LAB.  It specializes in eating the gunk in drains just like a starter would.  You just need to thin out the starter before tossing it in the drain.  LAB can do so many things worth doing in life!

clazar123's picture
clazar123

If you ask 100 bakers how to maintain a starter you will get 500 answers. Everyone that has maintained a starter has several ways of accomplishing it. Rather than try to wade through so much info, go right to the source of a local expert. He posts here regularly and has a long experience of making great bread. He also has developed what he calls "The No Muss,NoFuss Starter". He still posts here actively and is available for questions.  So, here is the link for Dabrownman's NMNF Starter:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/40918/no-muss-no-fuss-starter

Don't be intimidate by the length of the post. The most important part is the initial explanation with the 2 tables. Take a few minutes to read and think about what he is saying. The table formatting could be better-I copied it to a Word document and edited it for my use. He uses rye flour but further down in the post he talks about using AP flour. It won't go the 16 weeks but it will go 12 without refreshing. You can use this starter (made from your Grandmother's starter) to make ANY kind of bread.

To answer your questions, if you make bread with a starter that is not well developed, woken up, active, your dough won't rise properly and will be dense. Nothing harmful happens, healthwise.

If you want to make whole wheat bread, you can use the starter you have and just add it to your whole wheat bread recipe OR you can convert your starter to a whole wheat starter by doing several feedings with whole wheat flour. Very flexible stuff.

So start feeding that baby! Bake some delicious fun!

BTW- bubbly starter is good! Nail polish remover smell means it is hungry! Start feeding and keep it at 82-84F temp if possible (in the microwave with the light on is a good place)

TheUninvited's picture
TheUninvited

thank you so much man you are awesome:)

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

take 20 g of it and feed it 50 g each of flour and water and mark the level on the side with a rubber band.  If it can double in 4 hours it is ready.  The top view tells us next to little or nothing really.

doughooker's picture
doughooker

 Making a sourdough starter is even simpler than the Detmold process described above.

Flour and water to milkshake thickness, a warm place and a week. Stir once per day.

Be sure the flour contains malted barley flour. This will aid in the breakdown of the starch.

Alternatively, you can add a little diastatic malt (same thing as malted barley flour), available from King Arthur Flour.

It may smell bad the first few days. Give it a full week to ripen.

 

Lechem's picture
Lechem

It'll need feeding too

doughooker's picture
doughooker

I've successfully made several starters without feeding in the first week.

Lechem's picture
Lechem

leave for a week and make bread? Or do you start feeding after a week and then make bread? There's a difference.

I too have made starters without continuous feeding until it initially bubbles up. But if you don't feed after this initial bubbling up it'll die off. This happens within a day or two. Quite quickly. But it's not a stable starter and it's not coming from yeasts and good bacteria.

I suppose if it's not warm enough it can take a little while till it bubbles up - but just because at this stage it "looks" like a starter, it isn't viable just yet.

doughooker's picture
doughooker

"if you don't feed after this initial bubbling up it'll die off. This happens within a day or two. Quite quickly. But it's not a stable starter and it's not coming from yeasts and good bacteria."

No, after scant over a week, maybe 8 or 9 days, it's long over the leuc phase and ready to make bread, yeasty-smelling, stable and full of "good" bacteria. I've done this for years now.

After 8 - 9 days of fermentation I do use a small quantity to inoculate a larger amount of flour and water which requires about 8 hours of fermentation and is done to make a larger quantity of starter, enough for a loaf, as I do for every bake. The starter then goes back into refrigeration until the next bake. But there is no feeding during the initial 8 - 9-day fermentation.

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Got very different results.