The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

how tightly should refrigerated starter be closed?

pcake's picture
pcake

how tightly should refrigerated starter be closed?

i'm a beginner, and for a couple years wanted to make my own sour dough breads. 

after problems with my first starter, my second one (made from white spelt) is active, bubbles happily, smells delicious and rises a lot when fed.  it makes great pancakes, too.  i'd like to refrigerate part of it to slow it down for later, and after reading madly, i'm still not clear on how to close it.  if i put it in something like this

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0774JBY29/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?

can the top be closed and sealed or is that a bad idea?  if a bad idea, what do you suggest?

thanks!

williampp's picture
williampp

Hi pcake, I use those wire clip jars, with the rubber removed, for my starter.

The starter slows down in the refrig, but there is still activity, so the gas has to escape.

Bill.

 

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

I use a jar or other container with a screw top, and just don't screw it down tight. Works fine. Just enough so it doesn't dry out but if there is a bit of gas build up it can escape.

pcake's picture
pcake

thank you both!  i'll feed my starter double, then let half of it relax in the fridge without covering it too tightly :)

hreik's picture
hreik

 crock something like this: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/king-arthur-stoneware-crock

So the lid is secure b/c of it's weight, but not super tight.

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

I know what I am making in pottery in the near future!

hreik's picture
hreik

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

I think they used bubble glazing at the top. That’s a technique I have been wanting to try. 

pcake's picture
pcake

 ah, so that's the crock i keep reading about on baking forums!

i see what you mean by letting the lid's weight keep the lid on.  that makes sense - thanks!

pcake's picture
pcake

pending the arrival of a couple spring topped glass containers, i kept half my starter in a 1 quart glass bowl, double fed it, put a medium sized plate on top and put it in the fridge.  hopefully it will be fine, and in the meantime, the starter i split it from is still on top of the fridge.

BakerBuck's picture
BakerBuck

...consider salting it. 

You may use up to 1.8% to 2% of the weight of the flour in your culture in order to retard the development of the starter.  Experts maintain that this will not adversely affect the yeasts or the beneficial bacteria that make up a sourdough starter culture.  But as someone trained in microbiology, I suspect that continued use of a salty culture could affect the balance of the different microorganisms in the culture.  After all, even if they are all salt-tolerant, one species is always going to be more salt-tolerant than another; there is no exact in nature.  However, this may not mean that the difference is noticeable.  Lactobacilli are less salt tolerant than the wild yeasts, so perhaps it might become less sour.  There are some bakers, such as myself, who want rising power and nutty taste without a lot of sourness, especially when I use the culture to provide some background flavor in my croissants.  I have not sought this out by using salt; it just happened with one of my cultures, which I prefer for many things over the sour one.

Keep in mind that this technique was used to retard cultures at room temperature, in the old days before refrigerators. If you use it in combination with refrigeration, you will get a longer retardation.  Also, if your kitchen temperature varies greatly between summer and winter, adding a touch more salt to the overall recipe can keep your rising times (8 hour, 16 hour, overnight, or what-have-you) in the warmer months uniform to that of the cooler times of year.

Gas buildup is less of a problem if your starter is retarded. I just use a canning jar with a firmly screwed lid, not tight-tight.  That is the least expensive, least fussy, and most convenient in terms of vessel sizes.

B.B.

pcake's picture
pcake

i'm going to re-read what you said when i'm awake (i've been out of bed for less than 2 minutes).

 

it doesn't get cheaper and less fussy than a small bowl with a plate over it :D