The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Starter not thriving

seadog92's picture
seadog92

Starter not thriving

I started my sourdough 10 days ago. Equal parts water and all purpose flour. I had some dry instant yeast from 12 years ago and added about a teaspoon full. I figured the Yeast wouldn't grow because I had put some in sugar water and there was barely any activity. The 1st 2 days the jar filled up nice and bubbly with lots of bubbles all the way through the jar and after 5 days I made some bread and it came out pretty good. I continued to feed it with whole wheat flour and water I started out at twice A-day feeding once in the morning once in late afternoon but now 10 days later I've cut back the feeding to once A-day and I get nice aroma with some bubbles on the top but nothing like I did the 1st 2 days. I do a float test and some of it floats some of it falls to the bottom of the bowl so I don't think it's very active.  I see photos of starter that have bubbles all the way through the starter but mine never looks like that, it just looks like a jar of water and flour. Any suggestions?  I'm not opposed to starting over if need be.

seadog92's picture
seadog92

The photo is two hours after feeding 40g flour and 40g water

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

Way of getting a viable starter. I baked with mine after 10 days. 

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/10901/pineapple-juice-solution-part-2

I have no idea where to go with the one you have since you started with commercial yeast and that’s what made it so good at the beginning. I don’t know if the wild yeasts are fighting with the commercial yeast or what is actually going on with it so that’s why I gave you the link above. 

seadog92's picture
seadog92

Thank you for the link.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Two hours is not very long for a sourdough.  Give it more time and get temp up to at least 75°F.

seadog92's picture
seadog92

Thank you for your advice, and the link you sent me a week or so back really explained the difference between sourdough and commercial yeast.  Since I've started out on the wrong foot, I'm going to toss this mess and start from scratch.  I appreciate your help.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

food too and perhaps that dead yeast gave your starter some special food in the beginning.  Or the sugar water it was in when you added flour to it.  

Most starters collect bubbles up the sides when they are thicker.  Flours can vary in how much water they absorb.  A thicker starter can trap more gas while it ferments.  Then it can float better.  I found that when my starter had more activity in the top layer, the top centimeter or half inch, there was chlorine in the water I was using.  The top surface lost the chlorine faster so that's where the activity was. 

Thats when I got into the habit of letting water stand a day or more before using in my starter.  

Also starters have been known to come out of commercial yeast but the details are fuzzy and debates continue.  Some are purists and say it won't work others point out how the pH can be lowered initially and aromas can change when wild yeast takes over.   Dead yeast can be eaten by live yeast but if the yeast is rancid, heck I don't really know how good it is.  I know rancid flour doesn't help starters much.  

I wouldn't toss it. I'd stick it in the refrigerator for a week while working on a new one.  See if it is better or worse.  You can always go back to it.  Once it's gone, it's gone.  If you start up a new one start off warm for the first 24 hrs. Somewhere in the high 80's then drop it down to mid 70's F.  That gets the bacteria chain of events rolling along sooner.  Let the water stand out ahead of time and don't make too much starter or feed it too much in the beginning.  Let the starter tell you "when" to feed it.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Reminds me of graham crackers for some reason.  Does the tile also have special tile corners and pieces?  Please say yes.