The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

sometimes i'd rather just "starter" over

pcake's picture
pcake

sometimes i'd rather just "starter" over

so after wrestling with the world's hungriest starter for a while, it started smelling off. i took advice here and started feeding it 1 part starter to 5 parts flour, and it barely made it 12 hours, sometimes not even.  it started smelling less off, but never regained its original yummy smell.  still, it was rising like crazy, and it tasted extra super ultra sour upon tasting - too sour for me, but what the heck. 

so i baked a basic loaf with it.  before the smell changed, i had baked the tastiest sourdough loaf with it that i've made so far.  this loaf looked pretty good, but it had the less-than-appetizing smell the starter had (although not the off smell it had for a while) and tasted... well, i called it green.  my husband didn't get the green description but agreed it was my worst-tasting sourdough.  at least we didn't get sick.  i threw the loaf out, and after thinking about it, i threw out the starter with it.

then i started another starter.   so far it smells fine, doesn't require 10x it's weight in flour per day, rises normally and is generally more cooperative.  and i admit it - i gave it a boost with a tiny bit of instant yeast when starting out.  i have no shame!  but it's bubbling, rising and falling, and hopefully will be ready to bake with soon.  and when it is, i'm going to dry some and pop the rest in the fridge.

Ru007's picture
Ru007

What type of flour are you using to feed your starter?

I hope it goes better this time! 

Ru

pcake's picture
pcake

i'm using white spelt flour.  on my other starters, i've tried both white and whole grain spelt, but since i prefer white bread, it makes sense to try white.  it worked on a previous starter.   

i'm only a few months in with baking, and this last starter was the second that started smelling fruity and then like whiskey.  this time, i'll take mini oven's advice and whip it into the fridge as soon as it seems mature and smells good :)

in the meantime, i still have faux sourdough, which is actually quite yummy and with 2 Tbsp yogurt, is pretty sour, too :)

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Using spelt in your starter might be the reason why it ferments so quickly - spelt does that. Perhaps a mix of white and whole wheat (not spelt) might help you maintain a healthier starter, then you can use the nice spelt flour in the dough instead.

pcake's picture
pcake

i'm allergic to modern wheat, so that's why i use spelt.  of the several starters i've had, only the last one was so hungry.  the current one is using spelt as were the ones before the last one, and none of them ever needed more than 1 part starter to 2 parts flour at most, usually 1:1 was fine.

btw, not sure why it would matter, but the last starter - the voracious one - was the breadtopia starter (the only commercial starter i ever tried) that i gradually worked to having virtually no wheat.  the rest i've had were wild yeast or instant yeast based.

hreik's picture
hreik

as starter and continue w your recipes?  It avoids the modern wheat category and is very active usually... though I think rye enjoys a lower hydration.

Good luck

hester

Ru007's picture
Ru007

Rye did the trick for me, but that's not to say what you're doing now won't work. I've never tried spelt :)

Happy baking!

pcake's picture
pcake

so far the new starter smells good, is active and bubbly, doesn't need massive amounts of flour.  

if all else fails, i could try rye again...

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

conditioned to be high acid tolerant like the kinds of yeasts found in SD cultures.  It will be killed off by the real deal eventually but now it will just take linger to get a SD culture that is stable.  I use a NMNF rye starter that sits in the fridge for half a year at a time with no maintenance requited at all.  Keeping a SD culture on the counter and feeding it all time is just wasteful if you ask me and being tied to one with ball and chain is even more ridiculous.  here is how you do it

No Muss No Fuss Starter

happy baking the NMNF way