The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I made a time-lapse of my starters

Robin Dobbie's picture
Robin Dobbie

I made a time-lapse of my starters

They're both 80% hydration, the one on the right is 100% whole wheat, the left is 20% whole wheat, 80% unbleached all-purpose. They seem to peak, then sort of bubble in place. Are these ready for baking or do I need to let them get more vigorous? The one with UAP seemed to get within 95% of it's peak state in about 5 hours. 

Abe's picture
Abe

I think you could have been baking with your starter a while ago already. You seem to have been working on the starter for quite some time but reluctant to bake with it. Whenever I make a starter, and once it's over the quiet period, i'll give it two or three more feeds and then use it. Might not be making perfect breads the first few times but they will be nice and tasty. After which you'll find it'll continue to improve.

Get baking!

Robin Dobbie's picture
Robin Dobbie

I'm reluctant because it's not quite, but almost tripling, and certainly not quadrupling. I"m tired of making pancakes. I mean I know that's to be expected with whole wheat...

I'm wondering how much more awesomeness I can put into this thing before I go through the work of making loaves. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Robin, tell us about your starter. How old is it? Is it refrigerated? How often do you feed it? What are your feed ratios? What type of flour/whole grains? When left out what is the temperature? 

Your video shows an active starter. How long does it take to reach max height? Is it fed right at or just after max height?

A starter is not necessarily that technical, but information such as above will help us understand your starter better.

It is also important at which stage of maturity you mix your levain into the final dough.

You said, “I’m tired of making pancakes”. Your problem may not be related to your starter/levain at all. Send us images, formula, and instructions so we can try to get you over this hump. If you don’t give up, you can’t lose...

Danny

Robin Dobbie's picture
Robin Dobbie

The pair are about a month old at this point. I haven't put them in the fridge because they're not what I would consider to be super vigorous, yet. Fed about once every 24 hours. They're 20 reserve 80 water 100 flour, so 1:4:5? One's 20% whole wheat, the other is 100% whole.

After looking at the time stamps and checking for accuracy, it seems it actually got dang close to peak at 7 hours, then held for several hours, actually peaked, then fell. I need to just do another one with a freakin' clock in the frame. And maybe a thermometer and include the feeding in the first frames. 

Abe's picture
Abe

I'm not concerned if they've doubled or tripled as a few factors can affect that - flour, hydration, amount of feed etc. If it's active, smells good and peaked (doubled or not) then it gets used. I agree with Dan that failure doesn't have to be because of the starter. Did you have the best hydration for the flour used? Was it given enough bulk ferment and proofing time? Was the gluten developed properly? These are all factors one must consider. 

Robin Dobbie's picture
Robin Dobbie

That I'm involved is reason enough for failure! lol 

I'll try again this weekend and see what my luck is. Maybe I can avoid overproofing like I think I did last time. I just wanted to eliminate the starter as a reason for not enough rise. 

 

If the results suck and I can't figure out why, I'll just have to bring myself to finish reading Whole Grain Breads. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Robin, if you feed your starter only once a day and it peaks @ 7 hours, your starter favors LAB bacteria and not yeast. A starter can’t maximize bith yeast and LAB at the same time. Not long after the starter falls, the bacteria start to gain predominance. 

You seem very interested in a strong yeasted starter. If that is the case, start feeding every twelve hours. You want to get it to the place where it reaches max height or just begins to recede at 12 hours. If you want to pursue this, I suggest to test with a portion of your white starter. Make another starter to test. To remove some of the acids (bacteria) feed 1:6:10. You don’t need much starter. I feed 3:18:30. You white flour (AP) only. Put it in a slightly warm place. Top of frig, water heater closet ect. Watch it from time to time and let us know how long it takes to peak.

You don’t have to go to this trouble, but it will help to get your starter into a routine. Your starter as is should make decent bread.

Danny

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I viewed your video on YouTube. This allowed me to slow it down to a max of 25% of the original speed. I think your white starter is ready for use at around the 3 second mark. I look for the point in time when the starter has reached its maximum height and has just started to recede.

Your white starter will have a stronger gluten matrix. That matrix will hold the fermentation gas better than the starter with more whole grain. It will also cause the white starter to rise higher.

Next time lapse you might want to slow down the frame rate or set the time lapse to 5 minute intervals. Here is a VIDEO for use as an example.

BTW, how did you embed your video in the post? I haven’t figured that out yet.

Danny

Robin Dobbie's picture
Robin Dobbie

Seemed it started to recede a little, but most of the receding was after the 7 second mark. I mean it kept up pretty well from from 3 to 7 at least from what I can see. It looked like what was happening at 3 was it was still generating gas, but the nature of the goop was pre-collapsing. If that's a word. 

But yeah I chose 7.5 minute intervals, but I should have done 2.5. And included a clock! Next time.

It's pretty easy to embed the video. I mean I've been on some forums where I have to bookmark a guide because it's so complicated, but this is nice. 

I click on the little icon that looks like a media player icon, then paste the youtube share link in the "source" field, then clicked "Ok". Really couldn't be simpler. Props to the admin.

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I’ll have to try the embed again. I tried it on several occasions but couldn’t get it to work.

If your elapse interval is 7.5 minutes that is fine. If you lower your frame rate, I think the video will become more informative. The clock will help.

Robin, I went and checked Youtube again. I hit Share but for the life of me I can’t find an embed option. I tried several of my videos.

Dan

Robin Dobbie's picture
Robin Dobbie

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Thanks, I was trying to embed istead of copying the URL.

Robin Dobbie's picture
Robin Dobbie

Sweet! 

 

I got my next time-lapse going. It'll be interesting to see if my battery lasts since I chose 59 second intervals. My camera goes to sleep at 1 minute, so if it were a person it would royally hate me! lol

Bigblue's picture
Bigblue

What a cool vid. Thanks for posting that!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I am considering a new test using a video similar to that one. In ANOTHER POST I ran a series of test, with accompanying videos to learn more about proper proofing of dough. Doc.Dough posed an interesting question. He asked what happens to the bubbles. I thought, how do small bubbles get big and big bubbles become small.

In an attempt to answer that question I am considering a new video similar to the starter time lapse.

Danny

Bigblue's picture
Bigblue

Time-lapse for all things SD seems super beneficial. I'll follow that page. :)

Robin Dobbie's picture
Robin Dobbie

Attempt 2

Ok so it looks like the 80% UAP one(left) was  actually ready in 5 hours, then held for 7½ hours before dropping. The 100% whole wheat got where it was going in 7 hours and then held for really not much longer than the white. 

 

So the idea is to set aside what's going in any given loaf near the end of where it's holding level?

Abe's picture
Abe

You still haven't tried a bread yet?

My advice for you would be...

Take a good recipe (Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough is a very good first recipe to try) and try to follow it the best you can. Even though the best advice one can give is "watch the dough and not the clock" there's going to be a learning curve you'll have to go through like everyone else. How can you watch the dough and not the clock when you don't know what you're looking for? Same as when making a starter for the first time. So for now try to follow the recipe as close as you can and then troubleshoot. Before long you'll get a feel for the process. Your first loaf might not be perfect but it'll be tasty. And even tastier because you made it.

I see two very good starters.

Robin Dobbie's picture
Robin Dobbie

This weekend is bread time for sure.

So when would you pull the starter to use? At 5 hours it got close to its peak, then essentially held for 7+ more hours. So do I pull it at the 5 hour or wait until its about to drop?

Abe's picture
Abe

Hamelman gives you a levain build with timings. Your plan will be to use starter, in this levain build, that has peaked.

There are so many ways to use a starter but I think this should be your plan for the time being.

Carry on feeding your starter as you have been doing (till you're ready to keep it in the refrigerator) and use the discard to build the levain.

Once you start turning out successful bakes then you can give some thought about how you wish to maintain and use your starter.

Robin Dobbie's picture
Robin Dobbie

Could you point me to that recipe? My library doesn't have that book, and the bloggers I saw that were referencing it may have made changes. The one I was seeing is calling for bread flour which I don't have. I do have some vital wheat gluten I could add that's been in the deep freeze since 2014...

I'm kinda leaning toward making the America's Test Kitchen sourdough(10:00).  It's got this genius deviation from the usual dutch oven instructions where one does the final proof in a cold dutch oven. This means no potential degassing the shaped loaves when transferring to the dutch oven! That, and overproofing, may have been a potential fork-up point for me.

 

Abe's picture
Abe

But not in front of me right now. From the looks of things this one seems like the original.

Take a look through and ask me any questions you might have. I just have two points to add...

1: Starter build - don't worry about the "unfed" wording in the starter build. Just use 22g from the discard.

2: #5 the folds - It isn't clear but that's two sets of folds. The first at 50 minutes and the second at 100 minutes.

Everything else seems quite straight forward but ask anything you might not be clear on.

Robin Dobbie's picture
Robin Dobbie

Well between the bread flour and the rye I don't have, I'm going to just make the America's Test Kitchen white bread crap tomorrow. Thanks for the suggestion though. People have been trying to proselytize me to rye flour, maybe I'll order some. 

Abe's picture
Abe

Whole wheat instead of rye if you wish. Or indeed you can use all white flour.

What kind of flour do you have?

Robin Dobbie's picture
Robin Dobbie

King Arthur whole wheat, store-brand whole wheat, store-brand unbleached all purpose,  store-brand bleached all purpose, sorghum, buckwheat, I think that's it. There might be something else in there. 

Abe's picture
Abe

In place of the whole rye.

What is the protein % of the store-brand unbleached AP flour?

Robin Dobbie's picture
Robin Dobbie

Not sure. I think I read the nutritional label isn't to be taken seriously, but it says 3g per 30g on both. Both whole wheats say 4g.

Abe's picture
Abe

3g of protein per 30g of flour = 10%

4g of protein per 30g of flour = 13%

So the AP flour really is closer to cake or cookie flour. Not really for bread. But the whole wheat seems good.

If I were you I'd try to get some stronger bread flour.

Robin Dobbie's picture
Robin Dobbie

Yeah that's easy enough maths, but I've seen that the nutritional label protein content isn't to be trusted in the least. And consider that they only ever say 3 or 4, never 3.5 or some other decimal. So it's a crap number they've put on the bag. 

I think the important thing for my next loaf is just to not over-proof. 

DesigningWoman's picture
DesigningWoman

but if you're afraid your white flours are too weak and you've got whole wheat, I've had some pretty good results with this one. But then again, I'm the last person who should be giving advice here! Listen to the experts ;-)

Remember, we're supposed to enjoy this!

Carole

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Hey Abe, what about a 123 Sourdough? I hope you don’t mind me inserting my opinion here.

We made a post specifically for a first time sourdough bake. It is extremely simple, uses all white four, and has instructions focused on a new SD baker.

I am a firm believer is making things easier, not harder in the beginning learning stages.

Here is the link. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/56678/123-sourdough-no-knead-do-nothing-bread

America’s Test Kitchen would also be a nice choice, especially since Robbin feels good about it. I love Hameman, but maybe he is best reserved for another day.

Danny

The widely published formula for calculating protein from an ingredient list is very flawed. I say this because everything is rounded off. Example 3g protein in a 30g serving =10% protien. But 4g protein in a 30g serving = 13.3% protein. So, the difference between 3 and 4g per serving is a whopping 3.3% protein. The numbers are not telling. The ingredient list will always round to whole numbers.

Abe's picture
Abe

Collective knowledge and that's a great idea.

I still think, even if approximated, the AP flour sounds too low. But it makes sense for it to increase by 3.3% if it goes up from 3g to 4g per 30g of flour. And not only that... not all the protein is gluten.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

that is roughly the temperature where the LAB to yeast ratio is a lw as it gets meaning that is where you will have more yeast to LAB than at lower or higher temperatures.  When they peak you can stir them down and they will double again and them the if you stir them down again they might rise once more.  I do this all the time just to see how many times they can double.

When you use your levain depends on the recipe you are using.  For my recipes I usually say when it doubles it is ready to go but many times I retard the levain after it doubles and then stir it when it comes out of the fridge and when it rises 25% It is ready to go.  Many of Chad Robertson's recipes in Tartine say to use a 'young' levain meaning about 1 hour after its last feeding ignoring how much it has risen which may not be much.  Forkish's levain builds are insane and should never be used because they are so wasteful.  I don't keep starters on the counter because they are so wasteful.

A counter maintained starter and used the Tartine of Forkish way is the how you make the least sour sourdough bread you can make with your starter which is the way most people like their SD bread.

Whole grain starters can usually make bread in a week and complete white ones a couple of days later so you have been Wasting Daylight as we say out West.  Get that bread made.  After a month a new levain is considered mature!  Love the videos

Happy baking