The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking with acetone, or, how overripe is too overripe?

pepenadora's picture
pepenadora

Baking with acetone, or, how overripe is too overripe?

I started building up a starter for a bake almost a week ago (Wednesday, I think), but then a friend came into town and distracted me and it's been on my counter since then. It smells quite acetone/acetate-y (that's why my kitchen was smelling!), but no hooch has separated off. Can I still use it for bread? Is there anything I can still use it for? It's about 500 g, so it'd be a bummer to toss it.

It's 75% hydration, 100% whole wheat, if that changes anything. I'm in the depths of winter here in the southern hemisphere, so it's not quite as scary as it sounds. Kitchen temps ranged between 12-18 C over the past week.

The acetone-y stuff seems pretty volatile, so I'm guessing it will bake off (or mostly bake off). Are there any recipes that the overripe flavor is especially suited for? Or spices, etc, that complement it well? How do I know if it's too far gone to safely cook anything with?

And bonus question! Anyone use the hooch from a wayyyyy overripe starter for non-food purposes? I've had some get pretty solvent-y before and tossed it, but maybe it would work like it smells? I don't wear nail polish or I'd try it out for that.

Ford's picture
Ford

Your starter is still a baby. Keep feeding it for another ten days or so before using it for baking.  I personally prefer a higher hydration for my starter,  On my feeding procedure i feed equal weights of starter, water, and flour.   I also save only about 100 g of starter in the refrigerator and feed about every two weeks.  I discard the rest.

I think the acetone in the starter is too dilute to be of any value.

Ford

pepenadora's picture
pepenadora

Oh, maybe I wasn't clear. This isn't a new starter, it's been going for a couple months. This is the portion I was building up from a chunk of the "mother" to use as the starter portion of a recipe, with the plan of adding the bulk of the flour/water plus salt the next day. I got distracted, and it has been sitting out, unrefreshed and unfed, at room temperature for about 5 days. The proportions when I built it were 1:4:3, starter:flour:water.

The mother starter itself I keep at about 90% hydration and feed daily, keeping about 10 g per refresh.

Figures that the acetone would be too dilute to do anything but suffocate the sourdough bugs.....

Ford's picture
Ford

Just feed it and and use it.  The acetone will just boil off.

Ford