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Sourdough Starter Barely Starting

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CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Sourdough Starter Barely Starting

I am 15 days into a Hodgson Mills Rye flour starter and I have bubbles but only a 50% expansion of the starter.  The ambiant temp is about 66 degrees.

I am using 1:2:2 (starter. flour, water) but it is looking pretty weak.

Do I try

  1. 1:3:3 or more...
  2. Pineapple juice..a dash
  3. A bit of yeast..a dash
  4. More patience..a lot

Thanks.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

CountryBoy,

At 66F, it's just going to take a lot longer. I would definitely not add yeast. The starter is already rising, so you probably don't need pineapple juice anymore. The ratio should remain fairly low until it is more vigorous. 1:2:2 every 24 hours should be fine until you notice a vigorous rise in less than 12 hours.

So, my vote is for #4, or if there is any way to add a #5, I'd say find some mild warmth. The ideal temperature is around 80F. It will make a big difference. Most homes have a place that is warm some of the time, even in winter. For example, above the refrigerator or freezer is often a good spot. Also, above a TV or maybe down in a furnace room or near a hot water heater. SourdoLady suggests putting some warm water in a covered pot and placing the starter on the lid of the pot. Even if you warm it up only for hours a day, it can be very helpful.

The tricky part is that in the process of discovering that warm spot, you want to avoid making it too warm, since above about 85F, it can hurt or possibly kill the starter.

So, it helps a lot to have a good probe thermometer and make sure that the spot you find isn't warmer than you think.

However, patience alone should work in a few more days.

Bill

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Sometimes rye doesn't look like much is going on. Does it smell sour? After you feed the starter, sprinkle or dust it with rye flour, that way it is easy to see if it is expanding. Cracks will form and the starter will appear more fluid.

If it smells sour, take part of it and make a mixture like 20g:50g:50g and let it stand dusty and covered overnight in a narrow glass. Mark the level. Report back. :)

Mini O

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Thanks, I appreciate the responses.

My container is a plastic one so I can clearly 'Mark the level' and see the rate of growth.  I have been dusting the top and note some growth but the Rate of Growth being so slow -50%- just suggested to me that my process was possibly deficient.

Please to note, I have a deviated septum and am not able to smell what other folks do, so the smell test is out.

 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

CountryBoy,

If the rye is not rising well, yet the starter is healthy, as MiniOven suggests, then maybe you could try using wheat flour and rye flour in a test. You might try something like 1:1:1:1 of starter:water:rye flour:wheat flour by weight and see if it rises more vigorously. If it does, then maybe it is active and just not rising with rye flour, as MiniOven says. If it still is sluggish, then maybe it's just not ready yet and needs a few more days to really become active.

Bill