The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Changing the ratio when feeding my starter

Maryml's picture
Maryml

Changing the ratio when feeding my starter

Hi!  I currently have a starter that I've been feeding for about 14 days (this is as far as I've ever gotten).  The recipe that I followed is 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white all purpose flour.  Feedings call for 2 oz starter, 2.5 oz flour and 2 oz water every 24 hrs.  It's fairly active but not anywhere near ready to use.  When its time to feed I noticed that the top of the starter seems a little dry/crusty and slightly dark.  I feel like it's too dry. I store it in glass pyrex loosely covered with plastic wrap.    I tried increasing the water (tiny bit, like 1/8 oz) and that seems to be helping, but I don't want to kill it.  So my question is can I switch feedings to 1:1 ratio (equal amounts of starter, water and fresh flour)?  Any advise would be appreciated. 

bigcrusty's picture
bigcrusty

Dear Maryml,

I feed my starter once a week and the same condition occurs all the time.  My starters are 8 years old and work quite well.  I use a pyrex 1 qt with the plastic cover.   When I feed I scrape the top off and usually feed 1/1 100 grams of whatever the strarter is.  I grind my own except white.  I have rye, whole wheat and white with white bread flour.  Every 3-4 weeks I clean the bowl out and keep the starter in another bowl.  They get quite scuzzy after awhile.  Good luck with the new starter.

Happy Baking!

 

Big Crusty

Maryml's picture
Maryml

Thank you Big Crusty!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I see no problem changing the hydration to 100%. But, my question, is your starter collapsed after 24 hours?

For your consideration:

I don’t know the shape of your container, but it is nice to store it in a see-through container that has level sides and is more tall than wide. Mason jars are commonly used. This way you can easily detect the amount of growth. Mark the level when first fed. Watch the starter and note the height and the time it takes to grow as high as it will go. The optimum time to refresh (re-feed) your starter is when the starter has fully risen and has just begun to recede (fall). If you decide to give this a try, it might be best to keep the hydration as is. If your starter is too wet it may make it harder to detect the actual rise.

If you find that your starter is falling many hours sooner than 24, an adjustment should be made.

If you can upload images of your starter, it might help. Let us know how high it grows and how long it takes to reach its highest height.

Dan

Maryml's picture
Maryml

Thanks Dan, good advice!  I have just been feeding is every 24 hours.  Lots of little bubbles and it does rise some, but I don't think its rising enough to really fall.  I'll take a picture tomorrow around the 24 hr mark and upload an image.  Thanks!

 

Maryml's picture
Maryml

Hi Dan,

Here are 2 pictures, one 13 hrs after feeding and one 24 hrs after feeding.  I am going to get a container with straight sides.  It's a little hard for me to monitor how much it rises because when I feed the starter it is kind of a ball and doesn't really touch the sides.  At about 20 days I feel like I'm stalled.  Again thanks!13 hrs

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

The image upload is a little dicey. I use an iPad and it seems I am only able to upload 1 image at a time. So this is how I get around that. After you upload an image save the post. Then edit it and add your next image...

You’ll be happy with a staright sided vessel, especially if it is more tall than wide. I mark the glass with a marks-a-lot. It wipe of easy with a scrubbing pad when cleaning. Keep track of your mix, timing and levels right on the jar.

Dan

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

What is your feeding ratio? You mentioned that after mixing it forms a ball.

Maryml's picture
Maryml

Just fed it.  Not really a ball, just not liquid enough to touch the sides of the container so I can measure it.  Getting another container tomorrow.... I only did the 100% hydration for one feeding (couple days ago) I'm back to 2oz water, 2 oz starter and 2.5 oz flour.  Thanks for the tip on the pictures, kind of cumbersome to load..

Maryml's picture
Maryml

24 hrs

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Continue feeding. The bubbles indicate activity. Your 100% starter may be too wet to rise much.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I’m assuming the top images is after 13 hr and the bottom after 24. It would have been nice to have a shot of the level at feeding. If your starter is too thick to be liquid but not thick enough to knead, you can take a spoon or something similar and tap the starter down until it evens out. Then estimate the “relaxed” level and put your mark there. It appears your starter is peaking shortly after 13 hr. I made this guess because at 24 hr your starter had fallen. Also it looks like it didn’t rise much more than the 13 hr shot.

I suggest the following in order to provide us with enough detailed information to troubleshoot your starter.

An inexpensive digital scale that weighs in grams would be a great help, both for your starter and also any baking you may undertake. You will never regret the investment. (But, by no means is this a necessity)

Use a smooth straight sided drinking glass. The fact that it is more narrow and tall will aid in reading the rise levels of the starter.

Mark the beginning level and time and also the level that it peaks at and it’s time. Any other markings are fine but not necessary. Tip - you can mark directly on the DRY glass with a Marks-a-Lot marker. It will come off using a scrub pad and water easily.

Wet starters can be more difficult to read. Because they are wet, the bubbles often rise to the surface and pop into the atmosphere. Without the retention of gas, the rise of the starter is not obvious. Maybe start with a 1:4:5. The weight of your starter will determine your other ingredients. For example; 5g starter + 20g water + 25g AP Flour. NOTE - it is not necessary to build a large starter. The savings derived from the reduced waste of flour will pay for a digital scale.

When photographing your starter try to choose a straight on shot. Get down level with the glass. Shots taken at large angles make accurate observations more difficult.

Here is an idea of the type of an all purpose scale mentioned above. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009EUPMFK/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

This scale would be used in addition to the type above. If you have the resources and are of an obsessive nature, this is nice to have. I use it for weighing small amounts, such as salt, yeast, starter, etc.. BUT, this is a luxury, not a necessity.  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EPO9M2Y/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

We can figure this out!

Dan