The Fresh Loaf

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reinhart starter question

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Sparkie's picture

reinhart starter question


 I am doing the rye starter, form the reinhart whole grain baking book. On Sunday at 10 pm I started it up, now today (tuesday at 11 am I noticed it was a bubbly, at  3 m I decided to start phase two, since I was unsure if it really mattered.

  So I was wondering, does the grain seed (starter?) need to go 5 days?

 After 5 days you toss half of it and make a "mother" , which goes into a biga, which combines with a soaker and final ingredients, to make a loaf.

  But if it is percoalting nicely on my counter for say 3 days is it usable? I happened to have used diastatic malt , so I added it. The stuff smells like when I used to make my own beer, before you hopped the wort and pitched yeast.

 Last I am not sure where I saw on line references to Ascorbic Acid versus Pineapple Juice,  then  the suggestion to try it and see, but, the pineapple juice I have (Dole) has ascorbic acid in the ingredients list.



obrien1984's picture



I would recommend following Reinhart's directions precisely. New starters often have a "spike" of fermentation activity towards the beginning of the process. Reinhart explains that this is due to a bacteria that behaves like yeast. If you keep feeding it for a few more days, the bacteria will die out and the yeast will take over. If you stop now, you might kill your starter. Be sure to stir up that seed starter several times a day in order to keep it oxygenated.

I don't have the book in front of me at the moment, but I think Phase 3 involves tossing out half the starter. If you think the starter "seed" is ready to go, use half of it in a recipe (instead of throwing it out). Continue as directed with the other half.

This is just a matter of semantics, but based on Reinhart's instructions, the "mother starter" is used in the starter, not the biga. It seems like everyone has different definitions for these words, but I thought I would point this out to avoid any confusion.

I wouldn't worry too much about pineapple juice and ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid is essentially vitamic C (I think). The pinepple juice is supposed to suppress that yeast-like activity I mentioned above.

Sparkie's picture

Hi Obrien,

thanks for the info. I am at day 5 anyway, and it is the consistency of really nice thick whipped cream cheese and smells like a beer. I agree onte vit c ascorbic acid. thing, and, it is added to dole pineapple juice anyway!

I put the final batch of flour in . I made the whole thing and am giving half away tommorrow or monday.


With all the worry over over chilled fridges and cost of making this timewise, I am working on a way to store it in fridge at higher temp. I may have a simple solution. I need to do someexperimenting.

thanks for the encouragement.


Sparkie's picture

I am going to pose this in other places  on the loaf, but I made a wonderful looking rye with that starter a white flour soaker, (I was too time compressed to grind my winter wheat), the bread looks awesome I will post pics if I cna figure it out, but it is bitter, It is a wheat rye blend w molasses. It has that bitter taste esp. on edge I hate. Is it my starter or is my rye flour? the flour is fresh.

I used the reinhold recipe, , Rye Sandwich Meteil on pages 112-115 of Whole Grain Breads.  I found it took a lot more white flour then I expected, but, it had a good rise. I also increased salt to 2.5  teaspoons . I also added a scoushe of water and 2 tablespoons sunflower oil. I used the vitla wheat gluten and diastaic malt in the mother, as well as molassas. I used milk not ogurt, (it was at hand).


I sent my SASE and a buck to the people with the free sourdough starter and will see what happens.  If they send it to me then I will try again with that. I may do the same recipe , just make an 8 hour soaker/biga, and see how they compare. If they are all bitter then it is the rye, if not then the mother has cancer, (like myown).


Any suggestions, thoughts??