The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Issues With Starter

eyebrowless21's picture
eyebrowless21

Issues With Starter

Hey, I'm pretty new here and if you guys don't mind, I need some help with my starter.

My starter is 10 days old now. I'ts a 1:1:1 ratio and I started it with King Arthur Whole Wheat flour and I've been using bottled water when feeding and "Great Value" All purpose flour when feeding. I leave it open with a dish cloth rubber banded on the top so it can get fresh air and I've been keeping it on a heating pad to keep it warm. 

My issue is that it will not rise. There are no bubbles what so ever and I'm afraid it' s dead. I believe the main issue is do to the whole wheat flour which is a year old, and the all purpose flour which is bleached. 

If you know whats wrong, please help, Thank you.

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

happening such as too many feedings, not letting the yeast and bacteria build up, your mixture being too thin, your starter being too warm and so on. I suggest you look up the Pineapple solution on this site and follow it. I baked with a starter made using this method in 10 days.

A couple of other hints, if there is no activity, don’t feed, just stir; using whole grain rye is a great way to boost activity and be patient.  

eyebrowless21's picture
eyebrowless21

Thank you! 

 

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

Day 1: mix...
2 tablespoons whole grain flour* (wheat or rye)
2 tablespoons pineapple juice, orange juice, or apple cider

Day 2: add...
2 tablespoons whole grain flour*
2 tablespoons juice or cider

Day 3: add...
2 tablespoons whole grain flour*
2 tablespoons juice or cider

Day 4: (and once daily until it starts to expand and smell yeasty), mix . . .
2 oz. of the starter (1/4 cup after stirring down-discard the rest)
1 oz. flour** (scant 1/4 cup)
1 oz. water (2 tablespoons)

* Organic is not a requirement, nor does it need to be freshly ground.

** You can feed the starter/seed culture whatever you would like at this point. White flour, either bread or a strong unbleached all-purpose like King Arthur or a Canadian brand will turn it into a general-purpose white sourdough starter. Feed it rye flour if you want a rye sour, or whole wheat, if you want to make 100% whole wheat breads. If you're new to sourdough, a white starter is probably the best place to start.

On average, yeast begin to grow on day 3 or 4 in the warmer months, and on day 4 or 5 during colder times of the year, but results vary by circumstance. Feed once a day, taking care not to leave mold-promoting residue clinging to the sides or lid of your bowl or container, and refer back to the different phases to track progress---particularly if it gets stuck in the second. Once you have yeast growing (but not before), you can and should gradually step up the feeding to two or three times a day, and/or give it bigger refreshments. Before yeast, don't feed too much; after yeast, don't feed too little.

 

But do look it up as there is a comprehensive text on all the what, when, why, how of making starters. 

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

You need to progressively up the amount of food to get a concentrated colony.  When you go make bread you're not going to be making a 1-1-1 recipe.  You must increase the food supply to 1-2-2.  Once it's doubling reliably every 4-8 hours with 1-2-2, it's plenty strong enough to use for levain.  It's probably ready now, even, but would take longer than you want because it's underfed, and therefore under-concentrated.

10-14 days is plenty to build a working starter.  They're very temperature sensitive, so if you're not in the mid-70s F it's going to take longer between feedings and will appear to barely be working.  Here's a link that's very instructive.

http://yumarama.com/968/starter-from-scratch-intro/

Old Baker's picture
Old Baker

Maybe the cloth is restricting the flow of air and not allowing airborne yeast to get to the flour/water mix.  Just a thought.