The Fresh Loaf

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Oven w/ oven light for proofing - good stuff!

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somegeek's picture
somegeek

Oven w/ oven light for proofing - good stuff!

My starter has been active but no leavening after seven days.  Started with 1C flour and 1C water.  Replacing half of the starter w/ fresh AP flour and distilled water every 12 hours or so.  I get small bubbles and hooch but no big rise.  I'd read a tip to use your oven as a proofing box by turning on the oven light to heat the inside.  I am reading 78ºF on the middle rack where I have my jar of starter and now have about 1/4" of leavening above my mark.  Good stuff!

Room temp in our house is around 68-69 so this heat for the starter seems welcome.  Wish I woulda started day one in the oven with the 78ºF.  Imagine it'd be further along by now.

Hans

P.S. - the next time I make a starter, it will be with 2T of water and equal weight of flour.  I am using 1/2C of each and it's been a bit wasteful when I could achieve the same with smaller quantities and bulk up later when I want to bake bread.

 

audra36274's picture
audra36274

Like you I have no "good" place to proof, and the oven seems to work well. I even have set in a pot of boiling water on the bottom and left the light on in the winter for a little extra boost. The only problem I have is when it is time to preheat. I hate to bring my babies out into the cold. And it never fails that on the days I do bread, I am usually in a really creative mood and want to do cookies or cakes or something like that. Alas, one day I will have two ovens, but until then....

                                                                          Audra

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Hans what does your starter smell like? Also it would be great to know what kind of flour you used at the start. The way I understood the process was that the wild yeast that we are trying to harvest with our starter is located on the bran of the berry (or grain if you will). So using a whole wheat flour to start your starter will give a greater guarantee of success. I used a whole wheat Rye flour for the first three days of my starter, and after that split it into three parts and fed each one different flours, white, whole wheat and Rye.

It is unlikely that the cooler temperatures are the culprit here, as my starter doubled in the refrigerator where it is around 33F. :O I think starters love cooler temperatures as well because slower fermentation may develop aspecs of flavor that fast fermentation does not allow.

So maybe if you post more specifics about your method, the folks here will be able to help you even more.

Rudy

P.S. I did start my starter with 2 tablespoons. :)

somegeek's picture
somegeek

I'm using AP flour and distilled water. Used filtered water up until yesterday. Was adding by volume vs weight until today.

Here's my starter from earlier this evening...

Trying to catch the airborne beasts I've read about with this method.

The smell is actually getting close to smelling less sour and more yeasty. Definite difference from the first four days or so of the pungent sour smell.

Just did a feeding and going to leave in the oven from here on out. Hoping for more than 1/4" rise tonight.

I am pondering doing another starter here in a month or so when I can get some local plums or grapes to rinse the yeast off of them.

Hans

 

 

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Hans said:

I'm using AP flour and distilled water. Used filtered water up until yesterday. Was adding by volume vs weight until today.

 

Whole grain flours have more micro-organisms on them than refined flours.  Most experienced sourdough people will suggest organic, stone ground, whole grain flours to start a starter.  Once it's going, switch to a refined flour.  Also, sourdough benefits from the minerals in most waters, so distilled water isn't helping things.

 

I see your starter has started, but I know a number of experienced sourdough preactitioners who have never been able to start a starter from refined white flour.

 

Trying to catch the airborne beasts I've read about with this method.

 

While there are airborne microorganisms, the concentration is so low compared to what is on whole grain flour that the success rate aproaches zero when one sterilizes ones flour.   People in rec.food.sourdough sterilized their flour by pouring boiling water over it to see what they could catch from the air.  Dr. Ed Wood wanted to catch a culture native to Egypt so he had flour irradiated until it was dead.  Both groups reported over a 90% failure rate when they counted on airborne organisms to start cultures.

 

Yes, you CAN start sourdough cultures with airborne beastes, but the odds don't favor it.  The critter count is MUCH higher on whole grain flours, and the chances of success are much higher.  Sadly, the "catching a starter from the air" thing is largely a romantic notion. 

 I am pondering doing another starter here in a month or so when I can get some local plums or grapes to rinse the yeast off of them.

 

I'd suggest eating the plums and grapes.  The yeast on them is not a yeast that will survive in a sourdough starter.  They give you an impressive start, then the starter slows WAY down in 2 to 4 days and doesn't start up again until the right yeasts take over.  It is more time efficient to just use whole grain flour and get the right microorganisms to start with.

 

All of these topics are covered on a good many sourdough web pages.... you might do some research and save yourself some time next time you want to start a starter. 

Mike

 

 

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Awesome advice Mike, as always. I also agree with you 100% on the airborne particle thing. I started and maintained my starter in a sealed glass jar.

Rudy 

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Ahhh OK, it looks and acts about the way my starter did on Day 3. AP flour has very little bran in it, and as I mentioned in my precious post this is where all the yeast is located. So I'm guessing your starter is not getting as much yeast as it would have, had it seen some Whole Wheat flour. So that probably explains why it is developing so slowly. If you don't get the kind of action you are hoping for, may I suggest feeding it with Whole Wheat flour for the next two to three feedings. After that you can go back to AP and eventually end up with White starter.

Rudy 

somegeek's picture
somegeek

Think I have more yeast showing up.  Fed my starter last night and had roughly a 75% rise this morning...

 

No hooch this morning but I fed it anyways.  Lotta air in there when I went to knock it down to pour some off.  Think it's getting there!  Seems it likes the oven light heat.

Hans 

somegeek's picture
somegeek

Two hours after a morning feed, my starter has risen by 30%!  Looking to be going in the right direction with this.

somegeek's picture
somegeek

After four hours in the proofing box(aka - oven with light on) my starter has risen roughly 125%!  Stirred it up... guess I can plan to try this out tomorrow in a basic sourdough?

somegeek's picture
somegeek

Pretty amped this thing is alive! Risen from just below the red mark in less than two hours...

Gonna start some bread tonight!

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Looks good. It's test loaf time for sure.

Rudy