Why don't we (normally) include salt when making a starter?
I've heard of using salt to slow it down when feeding. I have also been told it isn't unheard of to use salt when making a starter from scratch. But 99.9% (a rough percentage) of recipes don't. Why?
Just to satisfy my curiosity I'm making a starter from scratch as follows...
- Whole Rye flour 100%
- Water 70%
- Salt 2%
Each day I'll discard half and feed as above.
So far it's been about 18 hours and it's fermenting nicely.
I'll keep updating every now and again but what should I be expecting and how would this effect the final viable starter? Will it encourage more or less sour? Will it be stronger or weaker? Will it encourage more one type of lab and yeast than others? etc
UPDATE: After 36 hours and one feed. Seems to be going very well. No discernible leuconostoc activity. It's a "controlled" ferment very much like a normal starter. But that could be because it's a very thick paste being 100% whole rye at 70% hydration. I'm using a very large tupperware container. It has doubled. Please see photo above which I will change with every update.
Started with 50g whole rye flour + 35g water + 1g salt. It did grow over 24 hours but nothing remarkable (but then again it was just a small clump in a big container so wouldn't climb the sides just yet). It swelled to about 1.5x. Smell wasn't bad as such but - how to describe this - a slight smokey aroma with a fresh mowed lawn smell? Earthy, I think would be a good way to describe it.
24 hours in I fed it with again with 50g flour + 35g water + 1g salt, without discarding anything, after 12 hours it had much more activity and had doubled Has visible bubbles (enough to climb the sides now) and smells ok.
Not sure if I should just double the feed tonight (100g flour + 70g water + 2g salt) or begin to discard half and repeat the same feed. No difference really apart from the satisfaction of seeing it ferment more clearly and rise up the sides or save on flour.
Update 2: Arrived home to find the starter still peaked and with a lovely aroma. When stirring it there was no sunken in cavity (as one might find with rye when it appears still peaked but has fallen) but a lovely spongy texture. This was 48 hours after the initial mix and one feed in. So I proceeded onto the next feed which I decided to just add with no discard just yet. So the feed was as follows... 70g water + 100g whole rye flour + 2g salt. That was last night at 9.30pm.
This morning by 6am there was no discernible rise but on closer inspection there was some sponginess to it. I think we have entered the "quiet" stage and now we wait it out. Smell was fine, not like a freshly fed starter but definitely had some faint fermentation notes.
Some thoughts: 1. We have definitely not had any bad smells that usually comes off starters in the first few days. 2. A steady increase in activity till the first bubbling up. Nothing like the explosive activity from a leuconostoc stage but controlled, and strong, rather like an established starter. But this could be the nature of a low hydration rye starter unlike a high hydration wheat starter simply because of it being a thick paste. 3. Haven't avoided the quiet stage but it's not as quiet as previously experienced. It doesn't appear dead even if it hasn't risen up as such.
Will check up on it tonight 24 hours after the previous feed.