The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole Grain Wheat Starter Help

juperdat's picture
juperdat

Whole Grain Wheat Starter Help

I have made artisan bread in the past using my own sourdough starters, but for some reason this year I am struggling to get mine going. I am using organic whole grain wheat berries and grinding them within days of use like I have in the past. I am two weeks into the creation of this one and it just doesn't seem like it is building the strength like I am used to seeing. If I remember correctly, the starter usually doubles in size within 6 to 8 hours and is ready for use in artisan bread. Because I knew I was going to reach out and ask for help, I made a time lapse of what I have been seeing linked below. 

https://media.giphy.com/media/zc90i1WtoSlAssVeq2/giphy.gif

I fed it at about 0630 in the morning with the intent of taking a picture every hour for 12 hours to see its progress. Once the evening came and it was time for bed, it was still growing. I took a picture in the middle of the night and then kept taking pictures for most of the following day out of curiosity.

It appears that it took somewhere around 24 hours to double in size which seems really slow to me. Previously I had been adding 25g of starter to 100g whole wheat and 100g filtered water @ 80F in a kitchen that is usually about 70F. For the experiment to see if maybe I just wasn't doing the correct ratio I did a 1:2:2 (50g 100g 100g), 1:3:3 (33g, 100g 100g) and 1:4:4 (25g 100g 100g) all with 80F water. The closet that I did it in stayed about 68F through the whole time. 

I hope this gives enough information about how I have been trying to feed the starter. Please let me know if I have a misunderstanding of when it should be ready for use. I always thought the bench marks were doubled in size and would pass the float test. Any recommendations of how to strengthen it are welcomed. 

 

phaz's picture
phaz

If comparing this starter with this flour, and the others used a different flour, I wouldn't expect to see the same results. Besides - the starter looks just fine to me - I don't see any problems at all. I'd use it remembering regardless of flour used it's still on the young side and some adjustments may be needed - recipe and/or process. Enjoy!

juperdat's picture
juperdat

All three had the same flour, just different ratios of starter to flour/water. Do you think it is strange that it is taking almost 24hrs to peak vs 8hrs which I thought was the normal?

phaz's picture
phaz

I still don't see an apple to apple comparison. If the math changes, so must the result. And I still don't see a problem really, it's growing well, looks strong, just what ya want in a starter. I'd have to say, don't worry, bake bread. Enjoy!

clazar123's picture
clazar123

It will be more vigorous if you keep it at 80F the whole time. Top of the refrigerator, warmth rises from the coils), on top of a hot water heater, in the microwave or oven with the light on and door closed (IF it has an incandescent light), in a cooler with a heating pad on low, on the counter with a gooseneck desk lamp pointed at it at close range (again-with an incandescant light bulb), or in a proofing box like the Brod & Taylor.

The yeastie beasties are cool and sluggish.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

at least 75°F would encourage the little freshlings.