The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Supercharging Starter

Got-to-Baguette-Up's picture
Got-to-Baguette-Up

Supercharging Starter

Hello,

Recently, I've been paying a lot more attention to my starter health, as nice, fresh starter is making much more airy breads for me.  

Yet, I can't help thinking my starter could be even MORE active.  

Anyone know how to really supercharge the yeast?  

At the moment, my guys double or 2.5X themselves within 6 hours at a 1/3/3 refreshment, but I'd like to get a truly world class starter, if possible.  

Thanks in advance, master bakers :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

1:10:10 and start off small with 5g, 50 g each water and flour.  Let ferment around 26°C until peaked and leveled out, just before it starts to fall.

Stir down, remove 5 g  to repeat in a clean jar.  That ought to do it.  Then return to your regular routine.

if you want to repeat a third time, let the bacteria numbers come back up by waiting a few hours after the starter falls from the first peak. 

Got-to-Baguette-Up's picture
Got-to-Baguette-Up

Thanks for the advice.  What is the idea here, to reduce the acid load, or the bacterial load?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

they are intertwined but the main purpose is to to give the yeast a greater source of food to encourage more multiplication in the same amount of time.  

A typical pattern is a lag time of several hours followed by slow and then rapid volume increase until peak is aquired.  All conditions the same, a repeat of the feeding process will speed up and shorten the next fermentation times in flavour of the yeasts.  Flours will vary in thickness and their ability to trap gas.  Lower gluten flours may have difficulty rising but bubble away as gas escapes.  Evident gasses can be trapped, covering the container with a collapsed plastic bag fixed tightly with a rubber band.  Rye flour is especially known to maintain a slight dome while the inside matrix falls giving a false long peaking time.  Poking the starter surface gently will easily help determine if the volume is still increasing or has stopped.  Be sure to have plenty of head room in your container for the volume to increase.  I suggest at least 5x the volume of a wheat starter and 4x volume of a rye starter.

Another option after increasing yeast population is to reduce the water in the regular feedings changing into a firm starter for maintenance.  This usually takes several days to be back on "schedule" the first reduction taking much longer than expected with consecutive feeds speeding up.

Got-to-Baguette-Up's picture
Got-to-Baguette-Up

Interesting.  

This stiff starter thing is something I've been considering for a while.  My starter is great, but maybe stiff starter would take a little less maintenance.  As a home baker, what do you think about stiff starter?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

easier to maintain.  They also store longer in the fridge and travel better.  

Before you experiment with a starter, make a back up.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

no maintenance for up to half a year:-)  Well. at lest the last couple of years anyway....The No Muss No Fuss Rye Starter is liberating if a bit boring, non interactively unsociable and worry free!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

No fuss starter.  Save you a lot of flour and fussing.  I'm surprised there's no link, DB.