The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Feeding when kept in fridge

Ittayd's picture
Ittayd

Feeding when kept in fridge

Hi,

I have a starter that peaks after I feed it 1:1:1 within ~6 hours in 23C. I want to stop feeding it every day and start to keep it in the fridge and feed it once a week, when I can also take some to make bread and put the rest back in the fridge.

My concern is that when I feed it 1:1:1, I'm essentially diluting it 1:3. If I put it in the fridge and it doesn't populate, then the next time I take it out and feed the same ratio, it'll become 1:9, etc. So essentially I'll dilute it more and more until there's not enough in a batch I take to make bread (so say I take out 250g, but it has 1:27 of the yeast/bacteria it is supposed to have). 

So, what is the proper ratio to feed if I put it back in the fridge every time for a week? How do I know the population of yeast/bacteria is at the ratio it should be? Note that I'm trying to avoid tests in which I need to wait 12 hours or multiple cycles of feeding to know, want something as much hassle free as possible, and still have a starter I can take out of the fridge, let it warm for several hours and start making bread.


mrjeffmccarthy's picture
mrjeffmccarthy

Not sure if this will answer your question exactly but just some perspective. I can pull my cold starter out of the fridge and feed it twice (once to "wake up" and once to make active for baking) It's usually good to go. This is when it's in the fridge for a week or a month. I do regularly refresh my starter with a smaller inoculate to keep acetic acid down because I prefer a milder flavor. Hope my two cents helps. 

Ittayd's picture
Ittayd

Feeding it twice is how people usually revive a starter. I was thinking that if I feed it, wait an hour, then slow it down in the fridge, then I can take it out and let it warm it for an hour and for the yeast/bacteria this will be a single feed because they were active 1 hour, then 4 room-temperature hours became 7 days of fridge and then another hour for a total of 6 "hours". Or something like that. The "something like that" is what I'm trying to find out: is there a different ratio of starter:water:flour to use when putting in the fridge. 

Ittayd's picture
Ittayd

If I feed my starter 1:1:1 and put in the fridge: one possibility is that it went through the flour and so after warming up it should be OK. If that warm up takes time (just going from 4c to 24c), then maybe it needs feeding to have something to chew on, but the point is that it is ready.

If, on the other hand, it was dormant, and didn't get through the flower, then what do I do with the portion I put back in the fridge? If I feed it again with 1:1:1, then I just diluted it further. 


mrjeffmccarthy's picture
mrjeffmccarthy

I see now, I miss understood the idea. Like the other user commented, I'd say give it a try. I want to say that less water equals less enzyme activity (slower) fermentation but I've only got a snippet of something I might have read once to back it up! I look forward to your results! 

BreadScience's picture
BreadScience

How about judging if from smell? That's how I mostly do it. If it has a sourish fermented smell and doesn't just smell of flour, you can judge that it went through the flour and needs another feeding. Take it out of the fridge to warm up, smell it and then judge from there. If you are still nervous about dilluting it, you could give it a smaller feeding with 1:0.5:0.5 (or even less) and wait for it to peak at room temperature.

gerhard's picture
gerhard

Try it and see how it works for you, it sounds like a simple enough experiment to learn from.

Gerhard

Ittayd's picture
Ittayd

And amyway, these experiments take time that I'd like to avoid if the answer is already known to someone. 

The other Jim's picture
The other Jim

I usually bake once a week and keep my starters (there are 4 of them)in the refrigerator between bakings. This means that they have been in the refrigerator for about 4 weeks when I take it out to bake that weeks bread, cinnamon rolls, pizza dough, pancakes etc. I take a bowl of starter out the evening before I bake and let it come up to room temperature. Since starting to read in this forum I have standardized on a 100% hydration starter and keep 300g in the refrigerator. To that 300g I add 200g of KABF and 200g of not quite warm tap water. Stir it up good, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and put it in the oven (turned off) with a 40 watt bulb controlled at 72 degrees. The next morning I put 300g of starter back in the refrigerator and use the other 400g for my recipe.

If I'm baking bread I mix the dough up put it back in the oven and let it rise at about 72 degrees until doubled. This usually takes about 3-4 hours. Take it out, knead it, form the loaf, put it in the bread pan, cover with plastic and let it rise in the oven until doubled again. Then I take it and the light bulb out, preheat the oven, take the plastic off, slash the top and bake until done.

Hey it's worked for me for over 40 years with the same starter. I started doing it this way after reading Jack Mabees book on sourdough baking. Go ahead and try it but realize that as with anything YMMV.

 

Ittayd's picture
Ittayd

Since I wrote the post I've noticed my starter is rising in the fridge. Does that happen to you? Does it peak for you while in the fridge? 

The other Jim's picture
The other Jim

My starter usually peaks during the overnight in the 72 degree oven. I can tell if it peaked by the high water mark in the bowl. Or is that high starter mark. I use 2 cup bowls for storage in the refrigerator and 300g fills them just over half way so if there is some expansion the top shouldn't pop off.