The Fresh Loaf

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refreshing

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shericyng's picture
shericyng

refreshing

if my start was taken out of the fridge and refreshed 3 days ago and has only doubled(not tripled) should I continue to wait or is it concidered dead?? I am so new at this and need all you experts.....

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

You could dip out a bit and pitch it, then add a bit more flour and water, stir it up, and it should come back fighting.

Marni's picture
Marni

It's probably just hungry.  If it has been out of the fridge and unfed for three days, it needs a good meal (or three).  Try feeding it flour and water equal to the amount of starter ( 1/4C each for example) two or three times a day and see what happens. 

There is lots of great advice on feeding starters here on the site, just use the search and see what you find.

Good luck.

Marni

shericyng's picture
shericyng

thanks ....I just fed it and will see what happens...I just thought I wasn't suppose to feed it until it tripled in volume. What should I watch for before I feed it again? When can I assume its ready to use? I've read a lot of the sights and books I guess I'm just a bit confused :)

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Hi shericyng.

How long have you been building your starter? With what flour? How often? At what point did the starter go into the fridge? How long was it in the fridge?

Rudy

shericyng's picture
shericyng

Rudy...I started w/ whole Rye flour...then for what seemed like weeks fed it w/ unbleached bread flour every about 24 hrs.  at that point I did use some to make some bread  and put the remainder in the fridge. It was in the fridge for at least 2.5 months. It seems like it still smells pleasantly sour and definetly bubbles but never triples in size. I followed Glezers Artisan Baking book. Any ideas on what the problem could be?    Sheri

Marni's picture
Marni

Sheri, was the starter in the fridge all that time w/out being fed? I'm far from expert, I've only had a starter for about four months, but I've read about people who revived starters that had been in storage for long periods. I'd try feeding it every 12 hours or so and see if it perks up. I don't think it needs to triple, just rise. If you don't mind possibly wasting a bit of flour, I'd go for it. It could take a couple days to see a really big rise.

Marni 

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

I like Marni's advice. Just to let you know. I can't seem to recall ever seeing a starter triple in volume from a rise, meaning from being fed. I have seen it with the bread dough though.

The fact that your starter is showing any activity after 2.5 months of not being fed, is somewhat of a miracle. :) So you should consider yourself lucky. The general consesus seems to be that if your starter rises 50% to 100% after feeding, it is ready for baking bread. So it sounds to me like you are good to go.

Rudy

shericyng's picture
shericyng

Thankyou one and all!!! I have seen success...after 12 hrs it definetly had major activity from being fed. So if I am hearing you all right I should be able to use it now....right? So Rudy am I suppose to feed it while it sits dorment in the fridge? I thought it could go for a long time w/ no attention....this new pet is beginning to sound like a needy little creature!!!

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Hi Sherry.

Well once again Marni has pretty much covered all of your questions beautifully, so I'll just add that I feed my starter, that I keep in the fridge once every 5 to 7 days. I believe it works because I maintain a very stiff starter around 60 - 65% hydration. I feed it with AP flour. And since I use organic flour only I can't bear the thought of throwing anything away. Since starting a starter creates much more starter than a single person can use, I went ahead and fed whatever I thought was extra and placed it into a freezer, to be used at a time when I have a gathering or bake for a congregation or some such.

Rudy

shericyng's picture
shericyng

So Rudy tell me about freezing a start.....how long can it be left  and how do you activate it. The whole feeding thing w/ my refridgerated start every about 7 days just gets me because I hate to throw anything away, so having to scrap all I don't use every 7 days kills me. When I redreshed mine last night I put it directly in the fridge did I need to let it sit out first? Did I kill it already?

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Hi Sheri.

Caveat Emptor. I have not yet used the starter that I had frozen. However, based on what I read here in posting by Mike Avery and others, this is what I plan on doing with my frozen starter. I will thaw it out in the refrigerator for at least 2 days maybe 3. After that I will take it out and give it a few hours at room temperature. Once it is at room temperature I will feed it once and see how active it is. If I like what I see I'll use it right there and then, if not I'll give it one more feeding. In retrospect, I wish I had had the foresight to freeze the starter not as one big lump, but in smaller "individual" portions. That would have made it much easier to use once thawed. But oh well, live and learn. :) Also, my guess is that the starter in the freezer will last indefinitely.

As far as feeding goes. I don't throw anything away. Since I bake about every 5 to 7 days. I take my starter out of the fridge. Take out the amount I need for my recipe. Then feed what's left and place it immediately back into the fridge. This way I end up with a tad more starter, so an occasional pizza or pancakes during the week resets my amount back to normal and manageable. So no you did not kill your starter by placing it into the refrigerator right after feeding.

I definitely second Mary's recommendation below to check out Mike Avery's website. Great great source of info.

Rudy

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I don't feed my starter while it's in the fridge for up to 10 days or 2 weeks, but if I haven't, or am not going to, use it, then I'll take it out of the fridge, dump some out, and refresh it before putting it back in the cold again.

Marni's picture
Marni

Yes it needs to be fed. It is a low maintenance pet! ( One of my daughters named ours "Happy") Cold storage slows down yeast's activity, but doesn't stop it. A starter that is at room temperature needs to be fed daily. (Sometimes twice daily.) One in the fridge needs to be fed less often, but yes, fed. Yours apparently was still alive, just ready for a good meal. I feed mine every 3 days or so if it's in the refrigerator, but then I bake with it at least once a week, so it's in and out of the fridge.

There are whole threads here about making a firm starter (less water, more flour) that can hold out for longer periods.

Also, try using a bit of whole grain rye or wheat with your regular flour for an extra boost.

Hope your bread turns out great!

Marni

shericyng's picture
shericyng

you guya are great thanks so much I'll doit! Oh mine is a firm starter thats probably why it survived in the fridge for so long w/ an owner like me....so do you have a great recipe I should try??

Marni's picture
Marni

If you don't mind using volume measurements (some people do), my new favorite recipe can be found here:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/7732/i-cultvated-my-sourdough-starternow-what

It is in the second comment down, from AnnieT, titled simply sourdough.  I have made it at least four times and have doubled it  and made it into rolls, all of which were great.  It uses a liquid starter though so you'll need to prepare that first.

Let us know how it goes.

Marni

shericyng's picture
shericyng

thanks marni I'll give it a try tomorrow! when you make rolls do you cover them w/ stainless steel in the oven? In the heat of the summer i've been baking most of my breads outside in my BBQ gas grill....not sure about how the bowl would work! I'll ponder that one......but again great to have some much info

shericyng's picture
shericyng

Marni , thanks so much for the great recipe it has become a new favorite. I've made it probably 5 times so far. Plus we had sourdough waffles this last weekend. You were a big help and I can greatfully report my starter is healthy and very happy!

Marni's picture
Marni

I'm so glad it worked for you.  I make at least two of these loaves every week now.  I just tried it yesterday in a loaf pan, wondering how it would turn out. It looks great, but I haven't cut into it yet. It's a simple and reliable recipe.

Aren't sourdough waffles unbelievably good?  Are you using the King Arthur recipe?  It's fantastic!

Have you tried sourdough pizza yet?  Yum.

Marni

shericyng's picture
shericyng

another question about converting to a liquid start...if I read it right I take 1 part starter and double that quantity water& flour is that right? I want to try that recipe you sent my way....thanks

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

Hi, Sheri:

Here's a Website that has all the information about creating, meaintaining, refreshing, and using a starter, plus some recipes to use it. It's Mike Avery's Website, and Mike is a very knowledgeable contributor to The Fresh Loaf.

http://www.sourdoughhome.com

I might add that you don't need to throw away starter when you refresh. I pour my excess into a quart jar, then every few weeks I use it up in pancakes, waffles, muffins, or cupcakes. It doesn't act as a leaven, but it sure makes these baked goodies tender. Recipes for most if not all of these may also be found at Mike's Website.

Mary

shericyng's picture
shericyng

thanks Mary...I'll give the sight a look and great info on not throwing it away!!