The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to Adapt Starter Feedings for a Recipe

RicardoMiranda's picture

How to Adapt Starter Feedings for a Recipe

Hello Everyone.

I have been building a starter for a week now. I am on vacation and decided it would be cool to bake some good bread for my hosts.

I am following a recipe that advises me to mix the dough at 5pm so that after bulk fermentation it sits in the fridge for about 14 h so I can start baking in the morning.

I've read everywhere that you should use your starter at it's peak. That usually happens after 12h of me feeding it. So, My question is:

Do I have to wake up at 5am in order to have the starter ready at 5pm for me to start mixing? 

That sounds awfully inconvenient.

Is there a better way?

I hope I have expressed my question well enough.

Ford's picture

At one week your starter is too young.  Keep feeing for another two weeks or so.  The day before you want to bake, In the morning, build your feed to a little more than 1/3 the weight you need for the recipe, then at night build it to the weight plus enough to store for later.  Let this sit until the next morning and make your bread dough plus some starter to ave for later ue.


Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

I agree with Ford, the starter is probably too weak to make good bread so soon anyway, meaning not a strong enough population of yeasts. Other factors (besides the population of yeast) that influence the timing of when your starter is 'ripe' are the temperature and the population of other beasties in the starter (i.e. what kind of bacteria and how acidic they are making the culture). So you can put the starter in a warmer place to encourage it to ripen more quickly but if this very young starter has a kind of bacteria that are not the kind you want (happens often in a new starter culture), that won't help much. You can always spike the loaf with a little bit (say, 1/8th of a teaspoon) of dry yeast just to make sure you've got enough yeast culture to rise the bread.