10:100:100 feed timing
I've been trying to activate a starter I purchased and have gotten conflicting results with the process.
I'm currently using the 10:100:100 method to try to increase the activity of the starter, which seems rather sluggish. I've kept the starter at 80 deg and am feeding it AP from a reputable source. The water is well water (no chlorine) and is kept also at 80 deg.
I've been monitoring the starter, measuring increase in volume on an hourly basis. At about the 3 hour mark there was a total increase of about 1/4 inch total. (this is the measurement on the tape on the side of the mason jar)
For the next 2 hours the increase was the same, about an additional 1/4 inch in each hour. At the 6 hour mark the increase per hour went to 1/2 inch. It has continued that rate of increase for the next two hours, 1/2 per hour. Assuming it repeats past activity, it will not increase volume any further from here on out, regardless of how long I leave it.
My question is, in order to increase the speed of activity commencement, do I feed it at the point where it no longer increases in volume (now) or should I have fed it back at hour 6 when the rate of increase jumped from 1/4 to 1/2?
thanks for any help
and take a good whiff of it. Do you smell yeast? What do you taste? If you do not smell yeast, leave it alone covered in a warm spot to further ferment.
I need more info. Do you still have the very first feeding of the starter, when you first hydrated it and added a little flour food? Where is it and how many days old is it? All the gory details!
no, I don't have any from the original mix. I started the process about 11 days ago. The results of the activation process suggested by the vendor were not as expected so at that point I saw no purpose in putting some aside.
It had very little bubble activity with a 200% hydration flour/water mix. I was able to coax more activity from a 25:50:50 mixture and baked one loaf (white) as a tester. The bread had decent spring in the oven, but very little "sour". I used a no-knead 12 hour fermentation followed by an overnight in a bannerton. So I'm pretty sure I activated the starter, though I was disappointed in the flavor. I know that the flavor will (hopefully) change as I mature the starter.
The starter then went into decline and showed lessening activity with each feeding. I tried multiple hydration levels, but did not change the ratio of starter to mixture. I read your suggestion about the 10:100:100 method to increase the density of the critters which would (presumably) increase the level of activity. At first the mixture sat there for hours and hours before activity picked up beyond a few interior and top bubbles.
At this point the starter seems to be at the level of activity prior to the first loaf, I'm not sure if I have the original strain going or taken on something from my kitchen (I've been baking with an Italian starter for the past 6 months). But I'm not concerned really with that, rather I'm seeking more info on the methodology rather than this particular strain. The feeding cycle at the initial stages of activation seems to be critical. This way, when I get another strain of SD I'll be more successful in raising it up from the dried state.
Ooops, I didn't answer the question about "yeasty" smell. Yes, it does have that "bread" smell I guess. Not anything powerful.
I have a starter that I've been using for years. I bought it from Ed Wood, along with his book. He has an interesting view point, since he started out as a micro biologist. It's from him that I learned how to wake up my starter and getting it ready for use.
I sometimes go a long time between feedings - months. When I want to start making wild yeast bread again, I refresh my starter in the morning. I use all of the starter, measure the volume, and then double the volume using equal amounts, by volume, of flour and water. It sits on the counter. If there has been hardly any activity, I wait until the following morning, and refresh again; this time using half of the starter.
It might take a day or two if this, but eventually the starter wakes up. When this happens, I refresh morning and night. The point is to refresh the starter when the yeast is at it's peak of activity. As you go through the process, your starter will be come more and more active.
Like you, I keep mine in a mason jar. The jar is half full when I put the starter into it. When my starter reaches the top of the jar within 4 - 6 hours, I know it's ready to use. I start my bread in the evening, make the dough the following day, bake the day after.
This does not make a very sour bread. While the tang is subtle, the structure of the crumb, the moistness of the bread and the crust are spectacular. I do not need a big sour bite in my bread.
I follow the recipe in "Crust & Crumb" for the bread.
Hope this helps!
Hadster. I too got started with Ed Wood and after many trials and tribulations, not to mention paper weights and hockey pucks, I was able to get his Italian starter stable. I've since departed from his methodology, but I still reference his books along with others I've been pointed to. And I still have the starter. I feed it every few weeks and it always wakes up without a fuss.
My current mason jar (with the new strain) is about a third full when starting the feeding cycle, using the 10:100:100 ratio. After approx 9 hours the jar is full. As a matter of fact, this morning the lid started to get pushed up after that time period for the first time, so I must be making some progress. I'd like to bring that time down to 6 hours.
Regarding when to feed to get the activity increase I'm looking for, you say to feed when the yeast is at the peak of activity. When would that point be? When the starter reaches it's max VOLUME? When the starter's RATE OF EXPANSION reaches it's maximum rate? Or when that RATE begins to decline?
Short of having you guys in the kitchen with me, this venue is the best thing! Maybe better, I don't have to clean up!
full in 9 hrs. Congratulations! but it can and will get stronger. You may need a bigger jar as I wouldn't go under a 10g inoculation. Peaking, would be domed still. Ideal: When it starts to flatten or show dimples when looking down at it, the flour mixture is beginning to release trapped gas. It will fall and then rise again but not as high unless you stir it compacting the gluten in the starter. This is an interesting event but shows how long the gas production continues as it tapers off.
Without being able to count specifically the yeast cells in the starter, my kitchen experience is to remove starter when you see the peaked starter, start to dimple and flatten out (before falling.) Then immediately add water and flour for the next growth period. All variables being equal, each time this is done, the starter will be faster to the next rise. When you have achieved your goal of 6hrs with the 1 to 10 feeding, Do wait 8 hrs before feeding so that the bacteria can catch up to ensure a bacterial balance. That may also mean you might want to chill the starter for a day at the 6 hr peak rise mark. And repeat the 1:10 feed the following day to fit your time schedule.
First line of work (other than baking the discards) with the new 6 hr starter is then to take some of it and dry it or add enough flour to a 50g mature sample (either right away after the peak or the next morning after chilling) to make flaky crumbs that just hang together into a ball.
Gently roll the ball into flour and then put the ball into a small jar (there will be little expansion) with a generous spoon of flour on the bottom. Set the screwed lid loosely onto the jar and stand in the refrigerator. The next day tighten the lid. This will keep in the fridge for months or even years. Believe me, I have tested it. I keep my jar well labeled and the whole family leaves it alone. It easily survives standing at room temp for a day during refrigerator cleaning if the lid is not opened.
Now to get back to the dried samples...
dried means dormant yeast simple as that To awaken, the yeast takes about 3 days of being wet. To grow, it needs some food to be stimulated into growth. A warm spot helps speed it along. 26° to 29°C ideal the first day.
It has been my observation that it doesn't matter how much you feed it those first few days, nothing will happen with the yeast until it decides to move from being a spore to an active critter. So the first step is to get it wet enough and then to add some food for when it does wake up. That would be about an equal amount of flour as you have dried starter. Cover loosely and then wait for the bacteria to multiply in the dried starter and create an environment for the yeast to be happy. In other words: Leave it alone (you can stir it oe slosh around for peace of mind) covered until it starts to ferment. Then when you start smelling yeast (now very important) do not discard! just add a little water to double the amount of starter culture and add enough flour to make a thin batter or gooey paste. flatten it out and wait for the yeasty smells again. you can level it off, mark it and see if it rises (if it is thick enough to do so) or wait for the obvious fermented aromas before feeding. Do not rush the starter. To over feed at this stage is the greatest danger, diluting all the little yeast colonies that make up the starter profile. If you find the starter tasting sour but no yeast, give it time and a little more water. It can even lie under a blanket (1 to 2 cm of water) and still be fine.
Now there is big debate whether the liquid should be water or something more acid like juice or vinegar water or hops tea or other infusions. I've found that while the yeasts are awakening, they can do it more protected and respond faster if the initial liquid contains a little more acid than drinking water pH. Due to possible epigenetic influences on the starter bugs, be careful with sugar and sweet juices. Once the yeast has awakened, there is no need for more juice, water works just fine as the bugs make their own acid brew for themselves.
I hope this helps you out, Mini
that once you get your starter to this lovely timing for yourself, you no longer have to feed it 1:10:10. It can easily be fed 1:5:5 or 1:2:3 or what ever you like adjusting to your ambient temps and space. You can leave it out if you bake often or chill it before it peaks. You can even put it on a 12 hrs schedule (not a bad idea to stabilise the starter) cutting down on the water and flour amounts.
I was looking through my older posts and came across yours.
I some how killed my SF starter that I got from Ed Wood. I decided to capture my own.
I've run into issue after issue, but this past summer I was able to catch my very own wild yeast. And boy, is it a duzzie! After I remove it from the fridge, I let it sit for about an hour, and then feed it - doubling by weight at 100% hydration because the math is easier.
It will double in bulk in 4 hours. Then I stir it up. 2 hours later it will more than quadruple in volume. QUADRUPLE! I've never worked with a wild yeast starter that's so fast.
Mild, savory flavor. The sour comes at the end of the mouthful, and is mild. The crust cracks as it cools, and I love that sound. It holds well and makes the most amazing toast.
I'm working on my own flour blend recipe, and I've used the starter for that as well. The recipe is mostly bread flour, but the starter has no problem with the three different flours I blend with it.
Hope you are well.
I have Ed's San Francisco starter. I love it. He's a crazy man, but I'm glad he is!
Anyway, I'd have to say that you want to refresh your starter when the RATE of increase is at it's fastest. Hard to judge, but since you're measuring your growth on the side of the jar.....
I keep my jar on the counter. When it starts to get frisky, I leave the lid just kind of sitting on the top and I put the jar in a nice bowl. Why? Because I've gone into the kitchen to check my starter only to find my kitchen counter covered in starter that's run amuck.
The only other observation I can make is that, perhaps, the strain of starter that you have might not be as fast acting as you want/hope. Also, since you're a 1/3 full guy, refresh when your starter before it reaches the top of the jar. If you let it reach the top of the jar, then it could be almost at it's last gasp. That's why i keep my starter at the half way point. If you don't like using so much flour to refresh, you could always use a smaller jar....
Technically, it's not a wild yeast, but I have another starter in my fridge that is very fast acting and produces a loaf with all the qualities of a sour dough. Get about 1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast and mix it with about 2 cups of flour and water - 100% hydration. Put it in a big jar, because at first it will go all over the place. Leave it on your kitchen counter for a week or so. Stir it once or twice a day for the first day or so. Eventually, it will begin to smell really sour. The "yeasty" smell will be gone. Take half of this, refresh, and leave it again for a week at room temp. Do this a few times - say 4. Then, "wash" your mixture per Ed's instructions, and then rebuild. It is NOT a wild yeast, per se, but is is a commercial yeast strain that can exist with the bacteria that actually cause dough to be sour. It will be faster acting - able to double in about 4 hours when it gets going - and it works well with Reinhart's methods of retarding the dough at various stages. You can increase the sour tang by keeping it cool (cool water etc) and retarding the dough.
As I said, it's not a wild yeast at all, but it will produce a nice tangy loaf, is forgiving, and is faster acting than a true wild yeast.
and is no longer the same strain of commercial yeast. It's profile will depend on the flour, the flour yeasts that took over when the "yeasty" smell died off. This left an open well prepared field for the wild yeast to run in and dominate.
I can envision my own version of yeasty "Brave Heart" happening and write on his jar in bright blue ink. :)
Thanks for the input! Today the temp in the oven dropped to 77 and I believe that affected the rise volumes/timing. Once I got it back up to 82 the starter continued it's march to the top of the lid at the same rate as last night, just an hour behind schedule. The temp control is another issue for another thread. I'll post that separately.
I will certainly put some into the fridge once I reach my goal.
Very interesting point about feeding too much at the initial stages of reawakening. That horse has left the barn for this strain, but I'll keep it in mind for the next time (I've got 3 more strains from Ed Wood in the fridge awaiting my efforts to revive). The strain I'm working with is not from Ed. It is purported to be a "very active" strain and was told to monitor it in 20 min increments. That was not a good use of my time seeing as how it was never "very active". I'm hoping to get it there, if it's still the original strain.
You answered another question I had, how little can I inoculate with? I was thinking about using a 5:50:50 mixture just to cut down on how much I pour down the drain. I'm sticking with the 10 mixture until I get this working the way I want.
My water is quite acidic, so I'm not planning on using fruit juice, etc.
It's great to get multiple opinions, however there's a conflict here that I don't expect to definitively resolve. Mini, you seem to indicate that I should feed after it gets to it's max volume and begins to dimple. Hadster, you say to feed before it reaches the top and is on it's last gasp. So, the question is - last gasp feeding or prior to that? I expect this is one of those "whatever works for you" things that makes sourdoughing more of an art form than strictly a science. I'd love to read the debate.
the discard "down the drain" and making some bread along the way, you can always add a little yeast or pile them up in the fridge for a sour loaf. Work in a little fresh flour. If you keep track of your flour weight, it's no problem to figure out 2% salt amount on the flour.
You can still work 10:50:50 the peak will come sooner, of coarse. You don't waste flour that way. You can test it with a 1:10:10 after a few days just to compare.
here's a read: scroll down to the yeast growth chart and then go back up and read everything.
another one you might not have seen... rocket science:
After reading the links, I'm hesitant at this point to change the feeding. I'll wait for it to settle down. It's getting there, but the peak is not coming any sooner. If It doesn't in the next couple of days I'll try to 10:50:50.
Per your suggestion, I baked a loaf. Plain AP white flour, pinch of rye. Here's the loaf, but all the proof and bake times are based on my other starter, so I'm sure I'll have to adjust.
I took my starters out of the oven where they've been living at approx 80 deg in order to bake. They went to the top of the fridge along with a thermometer. The temp there was about 70 deg. When I returned them to the oven after baking I measured them and they were ahead of their best times when they were in the oven (proofer)! Not quite sure why this happened, I thought the higher the temp (within reason) of the starter, the more active they would be.
ideal for my starter. Not everything in the culture is yeast, and not every yeast and bacteria is happy at 80°F. Perhaps cooling the starter helped the food chain. Also a little stress among the beasties might explain it, as a defence mechanism. Someone must know.
I've always suspected that temperature changes might bring yeast into synchronisation. A party dancing together is always more impressive.