The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Slow starter

Mitchum89's picture
Mitchum89

Slow starter

Hello everyone, I'm brand new to the forum and to sourdough. I've been making my own beer and fermenting other foods for a while so I'm somewhat knowledgeable with yeasts and fermentation. 

I've been following a "recipe" for my starter from a video on YouTube (Joshua Weisman) the basic schedule is;

Day 1 - 100g rye flour, 150g water 

Day 2,3 - 70g of mature starter, 50g rye/50g all purpose 115 gram water

Day 4,5 - 70g mature starter, 50g rye/50 g all purpose and 100g water.

This is where I get issues. I had lots of activity in the first couple days, day 3, more than doubled in size. As soon as I get to 100 percent hydration it seems to slooooowwwww right down to just a few small bubbles and barely any rise. 

This is my second attempt at a starter.  I went for 10 days the first time and then bought some better quality flour and I'm 6 days in now and it's doing the same thing. 

Any suggestions (sorry for the long post) 

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

Take a break, put your feet up and leave your starter to do the hard work. 

You've hit the quiet stage which is very normal and nothing to worry about. Keep it warm, stir every now and again and only start again with the feeds once it wakes up. Might take a day or two or even three. 

Enjoy your holiday from being slave to your starter. 

If it begins to get too liquidy as it ferments over the next few days then just add more flour to thicken it up. Once it wakes up then start with small feeds. As it gains in strength then increase the feeds. 

For now it's all about warmth and patience. 

Mitchum89's picture
Mitchum89

Thanks Abe! Taking a little break sounds great. What would be the ideal temperature? I made a fermentation box and am keeping it at 75. 

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

75°F is within a good range. Not far off from the ideal 78F. If you can get it up to 78°F then fine. If not, then don't sweat it. You should still see a relatively quick fermentation.

How's it looking today?

Mitchum89's picture
Mitchum89

There's not a whole lot going on. This is 12 hours after a feeding. I also changed the temperature in the box to 78

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

See how it is in 12 hours. But I think you can skip a feed or two for now. Give a stir and keep warm.

Once you see more activity and the starter becomes more sponge like then start the feeds again. But not too much too soon.

Don't worry though as it is going through a very normal stage.

Perhaps tonight if it has a little more activity then take off a few teaspoons and give it a small feed just topping back up what you have taken off. Give it a good stir and then see how it does. Certainly at this stage you don't wish to feed more regularly then every 24 hours and not too much.

Mitchum89's picture
Mitchum89

Thank you so much for the advice. I've been feeding at 5 pm regularly  so maybe I'll just give it a little stir tonight and see how it looks tomorrow morning. 

Mitchum89's picture
Mitchum89

Thanks so much. My starter kicked into gear after I skipped a feeding. It got strong and healthy and I couldn't feed it enough. Just baked my first loaf today

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

My pleasure. Can't wait to see the crumb and get a taste report.