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Slack new starter; no rise; smells very pleasantly sour

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afjagsp123's picture
afjagsp123

Slack new starter; no rise; smells very pleasantly sour

I'm starting to feel like a pest. :(

 My starter is now 13 days old. It smells (and tastes) wonderful. The texture seems a bit odd, and it is not growing. It feels like a very slack dough. When I stir it periodically throughout the day, it develops into a domed heap in the middle of my jar, then flattens out.

I'm feeding it every 12 hours with this method:

reserve 1/4 cup
add back in 1/4 water
add back in 3/8 cup flour (KA white unbleached bread)

I did add in 3/8 cup KA WW about 5 days ago, which spurred a slight growth spurt (25%?)

Is it still starving? Should I increase the WW? Do a mixture of WW/WUB for a while?

Thanks!

-Stephanie

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Well, the schedule I use to wake up my starter is a twice-daily feeding at a 1:2:2 ratio (1 part start to 2 parts water and 2 parts flour), with about 25-30% whole wheat or rye, and the rest unbleached white flour.  Maybe try switching to that schedule in order to see if it'll wake up (it really should be able to double itself in 8-12 hours).

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I've always used bread flour (Harvest King, which is cheaper than KA) to maintain my starter, adding rye during the last refreshment before I plan to use it. I've never made a starter with AP. BF has small amounts of malted barley flour and while I'm not sure if it makes any great difference, I've never had a starter flop (except once, when I tried using pineapple juice).

I've been baking Hamelman's "North Woods" sourdough of late and in anticipation of mixing another two loaves tomorrow, I refreshed perhaps a full quarter cup of starter in the jar, adding not quite a half a cup of water and around 3/4 cups HK bread flour. Tomorrow morning I'll refresh it again but this time will add rye flour to the mix. Mind you, I'm guessing at these amounts because I normally just eyeball it and mix it to the consistency I want, which is semi-stiff. I never stir it after I've refreshed it.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Save just a tablespoon of starter and then add 1/4 c water and Flour to thicken. Keeping so much hungry starter to feed (1/4c) gets expensive and all the new buds have to compete with each other with too little food. Saving just a little goes much farther: New buds, good vigorous hungry producing more buds all get fed.   Stirring is good when getting started but now only needed to blend in water and flour, it just knocks the gas out and developes a lump in the middle. It's just fine, only hungry.

Mini O

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Don't feel like a pest Stephanie, because if you are having these problems chances are good that someone else does or will as well. And everyone can learn from the answers here.

I wanted to add a small note to others above. If your starter is too wet it will not have enough "legs" to rise or double. Then you'll have to make it a little dryer by adding a little less water at each feeding.

Good Luck you're just about there.

Rudy

Galley Wench's picture
Galley Wench

You might also try feeding rye flour, using the 1:2:2 ratio.   Mine just loves the rye flour feedings!


Galley Wench

http://www.wingandsail.blogspot.com/

afjagsp123's picture
afjagsp123

Thanks EVERYBODY! I have kind of "amalgamated" a course of action given everyone's great input. This morning I took out one tablespoon, and added in 1/4 cup water and a 1/3:2/3 ratio of 1/4 of flour (whole wheat and bread).

I see DEFINITE life for the first time since the first 3 days of this adventure. It has not doubled, but it has added about a 3rd...I'll TAKE IT! Let's hope for more growth tonight.

 

Stephanie in Very Hot Almost Mexico
Visit my blog: http://bikebookandbread.blogspot.com/

afjagsp123's picture
afjagsp123

DOUBLED IN 6 HOURS! I actually got up at midnight last night to check -- I was watching the women's gymnastics all-around anyway, so I thought I'd check. :)

Thanks everyone!

Now, how longdo  I need to just keep doing this until it's ready to use? 

Stephanie in Very Hot Almost Mexico
Visit my blog: http://bikebookandbread.blogspot.com/

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Well, as long as it smells yeasty (ie, the doubling isn't just due to bacterial action), I'd say you're ready now!

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

It is ready now. You can continue to feed it every 12 hours at room temperature or place it in the refrigerator and feed it every 5 to 7 days depending on how firm or liquid it is.

Enjoy, Rudy

Galley Wench's picture
Galley Wench


The flavor will improve over time . . . I recently was away from home for 4 weeks and the first thing I did was feed 'the kid'  . . . actually did a three day rebuild, and it's as 'happy' as ever!  

Galley Wench

http://www.wingandsail.blogspot.com/

afjagsp123's picture
afjagsp123

I think I had a good first result! I used a recipe for a hearty traditional whole grain sourdough with whole wheat, bread flour, spelt and rye. Here's link to the recipe: http://www.breadtopia.com/whole-grain-sourdough/

I can't figure out how to upload a picture, so if you go to my blog you can see a shot: http://bikebookandbread.blogspot.com/2008/08/first-real-sourdough.html I'm also going to update the blog with a crumb cutaway.

Thanks everyone for the advice, help and encouragment!

Stephanie in Very Hot Almost Mexico
Visit my blog: http://bikebookandbread.blogspot.com/

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Excellent first result! How was the taste?

afjagsp123's picture
afjagsp123

The crust is nice and chewy, but a little bit hard. I would love a little bit more crackle.

The flavor is really, really interesting and complex. My new "almost Mexico, AZ" starter must have some pretty active buggies because it is pretty darn sour! (I like that, though.) There is a pumpernickel taste. It is yummy! The texture is chewy, but not too chewy. Not dense, but not light. I'm pleased!

I'm going to slice some up and top it with smoked gouda as a celebration snack.

Stephanie in Very Hot Almost Mexico
Visit my blog: http://bikebookandbread.blogspot.com/