The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

new to sourdough

warmouth's picture
warmouth

new to sourdough

 hey  i just started my own starter and it seems to be doing what its suppose to do  i've had it for 2 weeks and the first weekend i made 3 loaves and they where awesome  then the middle of the 2nd week i tried to make another loaf  and it didn't rise  i feed it that mornning before work then 9 hours later after work is when i tried it  also i only used 1/4 cup flour/water to feed on that day and i've been keeping it out of the fridg and feeding it every day i geuss im confused on making the sponge  sence all the info i got from the internet says to take out of the fridg  and feed it for a day or 2 before baking with it  but sence its been out of the fridg isn't that the same as keeping a sponge the whole time thanks for any help here

          p.s.  i love baking and cooking in general   and have been making some awesome yeast bread for years with commercial yeast and thought i would like wild yeast better more from scratch if, you know what i mean  anyways thanks again

               

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I'm curious.  I don't understand what went wrong either.  There are some very knowledgeable folks here, hopefully someone will post a good response for you.  I agree totally about doing the yeast from scratch.  I live near a lake and I was day-dreaming today about using lake water in my bread.  It's a big lake, 100 miles long, it seemed cool to get my bread really locally grounded by using that water, but I haven't tried it yet.  I did envision traipsing down the hill with my water pitcher, though.  Good luck!

Paul

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Paul, I live on a lake but sure wouldn't want to use lake water for cooking or baking  given the residue from boats, swimmers, fisherman, animals, and run off from fertilizers, improperly maintained septic systems, and the like.

At least boil it first...

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Yeah, I'm of two minds.  For the first three years that we were here we used a pump house on the lake and a reverse osmosis system.  Now the City has run a line and we have City water through a carbon filter.  I figured the 200+F of the bread interior would kill any beasties.  I get a fair amount of water in my mouth when I swim.  I considered boiling it first as well.  As for all that lake activity (there's a friendly, laid-back, clothing-optional beach across the street from my house), well it adds flavour, eh?

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I think that you are not feeding your starter nearly enough. When starter is kept at room temperature it consumes the nutrients in the flour very quickly. How much starter do you have before you feed it? You should always discard most of the old starter before feeding. Save only 1/4 cup or less and then feed that a minimum of double its quantity, with enough water to make the consistency that you prefer.

 Starter that is kept at room temperature will also become very acidic if it is not fed enough. This will affect the activity level of the starter negatively. If you see hooch (clear liquid) on the top of your starter, it means that it needs to be fed.

Good luck with your starter and keep us posted on how it is doing. 

warmouth's picture
warmouth

 i think you are right i have about 3/4 of a gallon of starter  today i took 3 cups of starter and fed it 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water and put it in the fridg  . is 3 cups to much to keep ?

the rest of the starter ( about 3-4 cups ) i added 1 cup flour and 3/4 cup water to make a sponge and it looks good after 3 hrs or so .

i guess what i need to know is the correct amount of starter to keep and the correct  amount to feed it . i undestand the part of taking it out of the fridg and feeding it a couple of days before you use it,, i asume  that is  where you get the amount you need for the bread?

  ok say  the recipe calls for 3 cups of starter  ok how much would you feed it to make a sponge   after this i will try and try to get it right because i don't give up lol

halfrice's picture
halfrice

I would use 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 to 1/3 cup water to feed 1 tablespoon of starter. If  you have 3 cups of starter, you would need at least 6 cups of flour and 2 to 3 cups water depending on the consistency you want. As for the rest of the starter, I would remove all but one tablespoon and feed it with a couple of tablespoon of water and 4 to 5 tablespoons of flour and put it back in the fridge. You only need to keep a small amount of starter because you can always make it up to the amount you required by feeding. 

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Half Rice Half Woman 

warmouth's picture
warmouth

hmmm that sounds awful drastic does this work for you cause all the vids and pics i have seen look to be about 1 cup or so

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, warmouth.

Welcome to TFL and to sourdough baking!

Tell us more about how you are feeding your starter. You mention feeding it with 1/4 cup of starter, but to know if that's a good amount, we really need to know the amount of water and starter that were mixed with it.

For example, I generally keep a medium-wet starter. I feed it at a 1:3:4 ratio of starter to water to flour by weight (not volume). For example I might take 30 gms of starter and mix it with 90 gms of water and 120 gms of flour.


David

warmouth's picture
warmouth

i have no scales so i try to feed it a hefty 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water every day  so i could make bread this weekend   i hate to trough any out  so that is why i have accumilated so much lol  i guess i need to keep on tring  so any more tip you can give me would be most helpfull

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hello, warmouth!

Sounds to me like you are keeping more starter than you need. Three quarters of a gallon will make a lot of bread. (Cue Dukas's the Sorcerer's Apprentice, for those of us who remember Fantasia.)

It's hard to part with any of it, isn't it? After all, it's alive! But many of the bakers on TFL (me included) keep a pretty small amount of starter around. Unless you are baking lots of sourdough every day, you just need a small amount of culture, but you need to feed it adequately to keep it happy.

My next suggestion is, if possible, obtain an inexpensive scale. Preferably one that handles grams. Just as an example, as a weekend sourdough baker, I keep around 80 grams of starter in between bakes. With my ratio of 1:3:4 (1 part culture, to 3 parts water to 4 parts flour, which means my hydration is 75%) that means I only keep 10 grams of my culture when I refresh, and add 30 grams of water and 40 grams of flour.

Most of us HATE to waste flour, or anything else for that matter. So since we HAVE to discard some starter if we're not baking every day, we only keep a little, and discard a little. Poor little yeast :-(. But there's no help for it. Rule: don't become too attached to your culture. You will have to part with some of it, frequently.

Now, what will you do with 3/4 of a gallon of starter? How about getting your neighborhood involved in a massive bakeoff? Anybody else have any ideas?

Soundman (David)

apprentice's picture
apprentice

Rose Levy Beranbaum has come up with guidelines to use in adding old starter to bread dough:

http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2008/08/adding_old_starter_to_bread_do.html

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Thanks, apprentice, that's a good tip. (I have always felt bad for the critters when watching them wash away down the drain.) I'll give it a try.

(Next day.) Soooo, I tried out Beranbaum's method and it made a nice, though not at all sour, loaf of bread. When in doubt, don't throw it out -- bake an extra loaf.

Soundman (David)

Pablo's picture
Pablo

About all that starter and what to do with it?  Experiment!

In the BBA Peter Reinhart says "It was an experimental dough, using about 80 percent starter to flour" and that is the loaf with which he won the California regional James Beard bread championships in 1995.

So, if it were me and I had that massive amout of starter, the first thing I'd do is pull out enough to make a whole loaf of starter essentially, just add enough flour (and don't forget the salt like I did a couple of days ago!) to make a decent dough, let it rise a bit 'till your happy and do some groovy scoring on top with a razor blade and bake it.  At the very least you'll learn something.

Good luck!

warmouth's picture
warmouth

 no dought  i will experiment  and keep on learning  will the dough deflate when you score it? that scares me

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I hear ya.  I've got some whole wheat baguettes that I'm trying to create right now.  They're not rising much.  I've got them in a pan in the sink surrounded by warm water and a heat lamp above.  They're going in the oven in 20 minutes or so.  Who knows what will happen? 

I haven't had any trouble with things deflating by being scored as long as the dough is not really, really wet, like 80%.  As long as it's anywhere near a regular bread dough consistency you ought to be fine.  I like scoring myself, I like thinking about a design and seeing how it comes out.

Worst comes to worst, you can't eat it, but that's unlikely.  Even stuff that's supposed to be bread but comes out looking like a cracker is usually pretty tasty, and you know everything that's in it.  Go for it.  And have fun.  

warmouth's picture
warmouth

nice reply soundman  and very helpful and by the way it's 3/4 of a 1/2 gallon jar hehe  and and my sponge worked i have 3 nice loaves but the rise was slooooow  but it rose  and tomorrow  i will use most of the remainder of the 3 cups i kepted for a starter then i will keep just a little cause those little boogers are hungry lol

warmouth's picture
warmouth

ok guys thank you all for the great info maybe i can return the favor to someone else later on

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Exactly!

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

also i only used 1/4 cup flour/water to feed on that day and i've been keeping it out of the fridg and feeding it every day i geuss im confused on making the sponge sence all the info i got from the internet says to take out of the fridg and feed it for a day or 2 before baking with it but sence its been out of the fridg isn't that the same as keeping a sponge the whole time

Yes it is. The reason all the books and websites tell you to build up the preferment (poolish, biga, sponge) is because only a very small amount of starter is usually maintained. But if you happen to have a large amount on hand there's no need to build anything up, you already have it ready to go. :)

As far as the dough deflating when being scored, that only happens if your dough is over proofed. So you just have to be on the look out for that.

Rudy
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