The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Starter First timer disaster?

Azay's picture
Azay

Starter First timer disaster?

Hi, I make bread but never have sourdough but finally made first starter, based on a recipe from the book DO/Sourdough, by Andrew Whitley. First attempt failed to work so followed his method for saving the day by taking some and adding more flour and water. Its been next to the boiler for 18 hours and just a hint of bubbles and a lot of then brown liquid on the surface. I used dark organic rye from Shipton Mill. Any ideas as to what has gone wrong? Only thing I didn't follow to the book was mixing with my hands, but end of a wooden spoon, as I couldn't believe using my hands would be as critical as he implied) I add a shot of the rescue from the above. Thanks for any pointers!

BaniJP's picture
BaniJP

The sides of the jar give me a clue that it has risen and fallen well. And given that it stood next to the boiler, it probably happened really fast. So the liquid on top is probably hooch, a sign that the starter wants to be fed badly.

I don't know if you can save it yet, but discard as much of the liquid on top as possible, then continue the feeding. But keep in mind that rye rises quite fast and the warm boiler makes it even faster. It was probably ready in 5-6 h. So I would put it in a place which is a little colder, like 18-20°C. Then watch it how fast it rises and maybe also adjust your feeding ratio. If there is no activity after some days, you should start new.

Azay's picture
Azay

Hi,

Initially i put the first starter by a hot water tank, but it wasn't that warm. I didn't witness any changes after 4 days so made the one that you see and put by the boiler itself. However I kept a close eye on it and it didn't rise. However there are a few bubbles coming up now. The smell is good and not horrible. Maybe i will leave it longer and see. I will take some more from the initial batch that I still have and try that again though and take any scum off first. Thanks