The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

What to do about Apple-y Starter

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

What to do about Apple-y Starter

When I make my ww sourdough bread, I more or less follow Mike Avery's directions for building the starter.  Then I reduce it to about 8g, add 8g each water and ww flour, and return it to the refrigerator, the coldest part that's not in the freezer.  I do not babysit.

It's been six weeks since I did that last.  When I pulled it out yesterday to make more bread, I noticed first that I had screwed the lid on tighter than usual, and then a strange golden surface color.  I removed the off-color stuff, but an apple-y odor remained.  I did a couple feedings yesterday to build, but today I threw out most of it down to 8g, again adding 8g water and flour.

Question is, what's the best way to 'cure' my starter?  Will temperature make a difference - room temp (these days 60-70 degrees) or in my proofer (70 degrees and up)?

Rosalie

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Regular feedings 2-3 times a day will bring your starter back to life.  I've yet to do so but in readings if you are going to chill your starter for extended time its best to dry it out first.  All the reactions that happen in a starter thrive better in a somewhat liquid state.  So if you add flour to dry it out a bit then seal it up it will slow down the "breakdown" so to speak. If you continue to feed your starter, let it peak and feed again keeping the temps in the 72-75 degree range and your starter should be up and running before you know it.  

Josh

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Thanks, Josh, for your comments.  I was waiting for more, but it turns out that I had to make my own decisions.  The problem was not a sluggish starter, but one where I questioned whether some intruder was running the show.

Instead of building right away, I spent a few days just doing feedings.  I varied the quantities I threw away and what I added back, though always keeping with 100% hydration.  I think the apple-y smell faded a bit, but maybe my nose just got more tolerant.  And then the other day I went ahead with the build.  As usual, I do four builds at approximately 12-hour intervals and let it sit either at a warmer room temperature (65-70 degrees) or in my proofer at 70.  This morning I made the dough and let it sit out to rise.  Tomorrow morning I'll form the loaves, then bake.

The plan is that if I don't like it, I can throw it out and make a new starter.  But I think it's going to be okay.

In my original post I'd said that I don't babysit.  I've decided to make a point of feeding it weekly, even though I may only need it every month or two.  It's on my calendar.

Rosalie