The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Newbie help needed

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

Newbie help needed

So I’ve made sourdough bread a few times following the recipe I found in Cooked, which I think is a variation on Tartine, the higher percentage whole wheat version. I’ve read several sourdough books and watched a ton of videos and feel like I have a very decent understanding. I was planning on building an overnight leaven tonight but my starter timing is a head of schedule and right now I basically have 200+ grams of starter at peak right now. I feel frustrated at my lack of understanding of the timing. I know I can use the fridge for bulk fermentation or for proofing to change my timing but as for what to do right now I’m feeling paralyzed because I don’t feel like I have mastered the timing aspects. What would you do right now? Go ahead and build a leaven now? That would mean doing stretch and fold overnight? I don’t really want to do that instead of sleeping. Haha any words of advice? 

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

I hope this comment comes just in time. Just pop it in the fridge, it will slow down further fermentation drastically and you can use it when the time fits to you. But maybe don't leave it there for too long, better to use it in the same or next day. And even if it is over-mature (deflated already noticeably), it's still well useable.
You can then just mix it straight to the dough. Just keep in mind that regardless of whether it's cold or over-mature, bulk-fermentation will take a little bit longer since the starter needs to wake up a little from the cold or hunger.

To prevent such a situation in the future, you can adjust hydration, temperature and starter-to-feeding-ratio beforehand. This requires a bit of experience but if you feed your starter every day, you get a feeling for adjusting those factors in order to time it right.
And if you notice it will mature before you have time to use it, just put it into the fridge like described above. Depending on the stage of maturity, it can stay there for maybe half a day up to 3 days I would say.

tisoypops's picture
tisoypops

Thank you for the reply. That does help. I do keep my starter in the fridge normally since I’m only able to cook on weekends at the most and don’t want to have to feed it every day, but I wasn’t positive about putting it in the fridge at peak, so thank you for clarifying that. And I will for sure use that in the future. I think I was trying to complicate things too much by figuring out whether I needed to start a leaven right then, or even start a dough right then, but then trying to figure out the timing was too stressful. I’ve only tried one method so far and that has been to build a leaven overnight and mix the dough in the morning in order to bake that afternoon and I’m struggling to figure out how to adjust the time to any other schedule. Guess I need to stick to baby steps for now. Haha

Skooz's picture
Skooz

I've been baking bread, including sourdough for decades.  Just beginning on the Tartine journey.  I was so excited when I first set up my starter to see how quickly it developed.  I guess there are plenty of wild microbials flying around my kitchen from all the baking I have done before. Yesterday I fed that starter for the first time and it rose like crazy.  I kept watching to see if it would deflate and it never did.  When I checked it this morning, it had risen to the top of the bowl...more than double the original volume.  I decided to discard more than the recommended 80% and used a little less flour and water this time.  My question is, in a room that is about 68 degrees or less, what does it mean when my starter never deflates after feeding?  I thought perhaps, the starter had too much "food."  I'm using a 50/50 blend of KA bread flour/KA white whole wheat flour and filtered water at 78 degrees.  I added water to fill the bowl to the halfway point and then enough flour to make a batter that's fairly thick (not soupy) but not doughy either.  I also tested the starter out of curiosity and it floated in water.  My starter never had a stinky cheese smell at all.  It just has that nice clean fermentation smell.  Is it possible that my starter could be ready for baking so quickly?