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Bubbles but no rise

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

Bubbles but no rise

So a few months ago I started another round of starter,  my 4th one.   On the upside this one's still alive and not completely funky.   So I uses the pineapple liquid start,  I did one rye,  and one whole grain multi which is switching to a white (I grind my own flour).   So after running the week with the pineapple juice I had a few bubbles,  I kept feeding and tossing or using the extra.  Then it didn't rise still,  so I thickened it and put it in the fridge for a week.   Pulled it out of the fridge and have been feeding 20g of starter 10g of flour and water twice  a day for 5 days still just bubbles no rise.   Lots of strings when you dip a spoon and pull it out but no noticeable rise.   Any recommendations? 

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

1:1:1? So feed your 20g of starter with 20g flour + 20g water.

This is a healthier feed. The ratio of fresh flour (food) will be greater and it'll rise more.

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

Ok I will try that.  

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

rising though the thin liquid and breaking on the surface.  just thicken it with a bit more flour and it will rise instead.

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

It is fairly thick as it is,  stiff enough that it takes over an hour to level out.   And the rye is even stiffer.  

nmygarden's picture
nmygarden

Your starter sounds a bit young and not yet ready for a maintenance schedule. I would work to boost the population of organisms by keeping it on the counter for now, feed it once without discarding, at 1:1:1, cover loosely and leave it alone until it shows activity (may take a few days). By discarding and frequently feeding a refrigerated solution, the critters may be unable to keep up with the dilution rate.

Cathy

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

Might be a bit too early to confine to the fridge by the sound of things. I think refrigerating and feeds of less than 1:1:1 have contributed to a slow starter. I concur that good regular 24 hourly feedings (will have to discard some as at this rate there'll be a swimming pool before long) of 1:1:1 for a week and kept at room temperature will boost the yeasts/bacteria population. I suggest to feed 30g of starter with 30g flour + 30g water at 24 hourly intervals. discard 60g and with the 30g left feed that 30g flour + 30g water and so on....

Also make sure your water is not chlorinated. I feed mine with boiled water that has cooled to room temperature. Or you could do bottled water. Or water left out uncovered overnight.

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

It went in the fridge because if it sits longer than  20 hours in my house a white mold appears on the surface,  why the first 3 batches got chucked.   I never had issues back east but here I can't get it to take off.   There is no leaving it,  even for 24 hours or there's white mold.  When it went into the fridge it was as a very stiff dough it took it about 3 days to relax and spread out in the bowl.   And the reason it went in after a month was the huge amounts of flour that were being mostly tossed.   It's being fed every 12 hours,  and it's been bumped up to 1:1:1 ratio.   

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You might find this post and Debra Wink's comment interesting

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/comment/246156#comment-246156

I'm with Cathy, let the starter sit with more food and let it get good and ripe before feeding it again.  It may take days.  No one has yet discussed any room temps. which would be helpful here.   So let me suggest you get your starter up to 24 to 26°C while you wait for activity.   It almost sounds like your starter never reached a final step of yeast growth and stuck in a phase with lots of bacteria but a very tiny yeast population waiting for the chance to grow. 

"...huge amounts of flour..."   doesn't sound right

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

It is usually around 22 in here,  warmer if I am using the oven alot.   The water I use is run through a 5 stage filter and shows 000 ppm.   I kept a previous try on top of the fridge and it didn't like it up there.   I alway keep them  covered with a towel so no direct light.   I read her post I will reread it as it was a quick skim and see what I can try next.   So Mini do you recommend the 1:1:1 feeding?   

I will try to grab some pictures later today.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

of the bubbly non rising starter (that is now thick) and taste it.  (then spit it out)  and see if it is sour, or sweet or yeasty or what.

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

The white starter has a sour taste with a bitter after taste. The rye starter has a  taste almost the same little less sour with a slight taste of flour.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

how do you feel about these two starters?

And you're afraid if they stand out for 20 hours they will mould?

Try adding a few drops of lemon juice to the top of the starters and let them stand out.  

Meanwhile...

I would be tempted to start again.  (oh, gawd!)  Use a tablespoon of each flour in two small jars  and two tablespoons each of water enough to wet the flour and keep them from drying out.  Cover but not air tight.  

  • Stand tap water two days earlier in a pitcher on the counter covered with a paper towel to keep out dust.  Use as needed.  
  • Make sure the starter stands the first day warm, higher than 28°C and lower than 32°C
  • then shift to temp of 24°C - 26°C for the rest of the week. 
  • Skip the first day or two and then add one tablespoon flour each day and a spoon or two of water to keep the flour wet, don't worry about rising or water separation.  Stir several times a day if you feel you have to do something, 
  • If you can't help letting the starter sink to 22°C at night, then feed every second day and keep the starter warm during the day for about two weeks.  When the yeast aroma starts filling the room, and your friends think you're a home brewer, take 10g of the flour on the bottom of the starter, test it
  • test:  add 100g flour and enough water (65g  to 90g)  to make a loose dough, place in the bottom of a tall glass and mark the level, cover and time it starting with about 4 to 6 hrs then every hour mark the level until it stops doming, rising and starts to level out.   If it takes longer than 24 hrs at 26°, ditch the test mixture and return to slowly feeding the week old culture.  Wait a day or two before testing again.  
The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

At this point I want one that will work.   I have tried repeatedly since moving out here.   They never seem to get to the rising stage.   I have done straight water and flour,  I have done pineapple juice and flour,  I have tried with a splash of apple cider vinegar,  usually after 3 or 4 months I give up.  I just don't know where to go from here.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

much until the yeast make themselves known.   We will get there.  :)

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

So when it forms the white on the top it's still ok underneath?   

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

but if you can't identify it, I wouldn't keep it.  Always better to be on the safe side.  It could be that whatever it is, it has found a home in the starter and is keeping the pH from falling low enough to encourage yeast.    There are several steps a culture goes thru to become a starter used in bread and it sounds like yours just aren't making it to the final step.  It is important that acids build in the starter.  Often, too often, our fear of not giving enough food, leads to overfeeding in the beginning stages when various bacterial populations rise and fall as the pH falls (or acid builds) with the byproducts from these populations.  Adding food (with a higher pH, like flour and water) keeps diluting the acid in the starter raising the pH.  This encourages organisms that will try their best to keep the pH high.  Their survival depends on it.

The bacteria can also bubble and give off gasses but very few of them can raise bread dough.  Give them enough time, like a month, they soon become dominant with regular feedings that keep the pH high.  Honestly, a little abuse (not feeding the starter) can push the starter into the right direction.  That is easier to do the first few days.  Problem is now, the bacteria might have a very strong foothold and it might take longer to bring the starter around than it would be to simply start start up a new one.  In both cases, one has to be patient and let one group of bacteria die off as the next group takes over in the chain of events leading to yeasts and something you can use.  

I've started up many starters and a new kitchen is usually the hardest place to start one up.  Once you have been using a healthy starter in that kitchen, it becomes much easier, there are more good bacteria around to help out.  Discarding and feeding is overrated when trying to get a starter going.  Once yeast start heavily populating the culture, discarding and feeding is a must.

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

Ok I will give that a try,  its similar to one have have tried previous.   But try try again eventually it has to become right.   

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

the culture forming and keep it warmish.  Too warm is not good after the first day, this encourages bacterial overpopulation.  Too cool, slows down the whole process.  It can be done but takes a tremendous amount of patience or amnesia with almost no feeding.

sirrith's picture
sirrith

My starter doesn't rise either, but it raises bread just fine.  I just don't pay attention to the recipes that say "wait for starter to double" or what have you anymore.  I wait until there are many bubbles on the surface, and then I use it. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

baking with it?  or a 1:2:3  (S:W:F)  feed?   Good point, Sirrith.

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

I have tried feeding it that way.   And I have tried baking with it,  but without the addition of yeast it wouldn't rise, I let it go 24 hours without commercial yeast and no rise at all.  

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

It bubbles. Even if it means skipping a few feeds. Just stir till it wakes up. When it bubbles up and is active wait till it peaks. Then feed again.

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

And you keep feeding it then what are you feeding? All you're doing is diluting it. Thicken up your starter a bit, give it a good stir and wait! However long it takes. When there is activity then feed. Discard enough so you can give it a feed of 1:1 or greater with regard to weight of starter and flour. So if you have 30g starter then feed no less than 30g flour. Add enough water so it's a thick paste. Then wait! again. Only feed once there is activity. Stirring every now and again. Once your starter strengthens it'll become more predictable. 

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

I didn't feed yesterday,  and left them in the cupboard,  the rye has risen slightly and there is bubbles, but there is a skin on the top with a air layer between the starter and the top.  The whitehead no visible activity.   I think I will toss both and start again.  

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

Stir it and leave it for 24 hours giving it another stir in 12 hours. 

Arjon's picture
Arjon

You can try to bring the starter you have around and also start a new one. If you keep the new one small and simple, all it will cost is a bit of flour and a few minutes of your time. 

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

I just took the tops off the rye was easy as it was a hard skin,  very bubbly and had risen a bit underneath,  very sour tasting,  no after taste. 

The white no bubbles,  less sour tasting than the rye.  

Stirred both and set back in the cupboard.   

Will start new ones next week when I am feeling better and can track down more stable temps in the house.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

coming around.

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

So today I am starting try number 5.  Tossed the last two they just tasted bitter and not so sour.   I don't have a temp in the house above 25 ( that's over the fridge,  the rest of the house is between 15 and 18) so I am going to warm the oven a touch,  leave the light on it should be warmer.   

JessicaT's picture
JessicaT

How many days did you give your starter before you threw it out? Also, what was the activity level like? Keep in mind that just because it doesn't taste sour now, doesn't mean it won't in the future. Starters develop different personalities over a period of time.

 

 

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

They were all over 10 weeks old.   And every one out here they all develop the white mold on the top. I never had this issue back east.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

get the starter warm.  The rest of the time it can be moderate warm.  Not keen on oven lights as they can also get pretty darn hot.  As a caution, I would suggest you put your starter inside another container of just water to keep the temp regulated.  Put your hand in the water and check often to make sure it doesn't get hotter than dish or bathwater.  

You can also just put the few tablespoons of wet flour inside a couple of zipper bags or a small jar and then into your sweater pocket and let your body heat keep it warm.  This is my favourite method for cool climates with hard to find warm spots.  Your movement stirs the starter and all you have to do is burp it to prevent any gasses building up.  At night it just sits on the counter resting. 

No discarding is involved and all you do is add a spoon of flour daily and enough water to keep everything a batter or liquid from about the third day onward.  The little beasties know what they are up to.  

I have also done this without adding any flour.  I just put some flour in a jar and added water, about 4 times the amount of water volume to flour, covered and left it alone.  Water sat on top of the flour and slowly moistened part of the flour.   About 5 days into the experiment, I removed a scum from the water surface, gave it a stir with a clean spoon to mix and left it alone another day or two to smell yeasty or beery.  Then removed 10g and fed 1:10: 10  and by the end of the day, I was making a 1,2,3 dough with it.   You might just want to try this.  When you see the water turning darker and the wet rye flour getting pinker in colour, remove any scum and stir the flour and water.  Or mix the flour into the water when you see the water getting cloudy as the yeast starts to stir up the flour a wee bit at the end of the week.   I have great times watching starters develop with as little fuss as possible.  

I've harvested "white kimchee" lately.  Reminds me I have to get my vat out of the attic with this week's temperature rises.  I have a few large jars ready, then they will be crowding my refrigerator.  Hubby says it tastes more like sauerkraut without the chilli peppers.  My son made his batch with peppers and more shrimp.     

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

I have sauerkraut on the go right now.   Kimchee is planed for in a few weeks.   I have a temp gun for the pets,  which I have been using for the oven it's resting temp with the light on is only 27, and I have the jars wrapped in a towel to keep the light down.  I have my fingers crossed this one takes.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

 27° sounds good!    

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

Fingers crossed.   I will check them later today,  and put them into the cupboard where it's a touch cooler.   Give them a stir and let them sit till tomorrow when I will see if they need fed.  

nmygarden's picture
nmygarden

Love your persistence and dedication. Wishing for good news and sure it will come soon!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

for 2 days if you can do it.  too cool too soon might slow it down too much.  25°C to 26°C for the rest of the week.  I know how picky that sounds but it would be nice to get past those first 3 stages.

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

I left it in the oven over night again.   I will see how it's doing in a bit.   And find someplace warmishbgonput it later today.  

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

Yesterday I added a spoon of rye to the rye one,  making it pancake consistency. Picking up the jar there are pinhole bubbles on the bottom with only a few breaking the surface.   It's resting in the cupboard,  I will leave it today and see how it is doing.   

The whole grain I tossed,  it had a rotten meat smell.   So I will divide the rye or boil the jar out and start again  on my days off. 

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

So checking on it last night before bed it was fine few pin hole bubbles on the bottom more than before,  get up this morning and the top is completely covered in white mold.   I am getting so frustrated with this,  I don't understand why it was easy back east and move westward and I can't get it to work at all.   

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

You haven't given us any photos yet though.

I don't think one could grow mould this quickly even if trying to do so. I once did an experiment of mixing flour + water together and didn't touch it for about a week and it didn't grow nearly as much mould as you're describing.

[This experiment taught me that while creating a starter needs tlc one doesn't need to feed unless there is activity but that's a long story].

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

there could be a contaminant in the mill?  Is the flour food fresh ground, milled & aged or store bought?   (just brainstorming here)

Water is tap, stood at least 24 hrs.  (no filter involved)  correct?  

And you are growing sauerkraut and kimchee in the same kitchen with no problems.  

What do you think about diluting some sauerkraut juice and starting a starter with it?

Yeast water?

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

About 15min ago I sent a private message...

 

The only thing I can think of is something is getting contaminated somewhere along the line. I know how to create a starter but I'm no expert when it comes to determining where this bacteria is coming from. Do you think your grinder might have something to do with it. Perhaps some old flour or grain is stuck in there and introducing some kind of rot or something? Something is not right for this amount of mould build up. Could it be the water?

Why not buy a bag of ground whole rye flour and feed it boiled water that has cooled to room temperature.

Just an idea. 

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

I have never had an issue with the grinder I am pretty meticulously in keeping it clean knowing that a very small partical can turn a whole batch rancid very quick,  I always take the mill apart and clean it.   The water is run through a 5 stage filter, the water here is very hard,  I have to descale everything once a month,  taps,  kettle, pots... Its not good water.    

It looks like white powder dusting the top,  I boil the jars before use.   I never had this problem back east.   

I have no idea how to upload pictures it asks for an address and I don't have a picture saving account.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Can you look up your calcium content ppm for the tap water in your area?  It should be public knowledge.  Also the pH.

Pics...  look at the next comment field, there should be a tool bar with little symbols.  One is a little green tree.  Clicking on that opens access to your photo file here.  There is a first blank with a blue border.  At the end of the blank is another symbol (so tiny with little boxes)  click on that.  That opens another window where you can download pictures from your file.  You will have to first choose to Upload, and then choose a file, then download it and slowly move backwards until the picture is loaded into the Comment field.  

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

I'm not sure if this should be an issue. Like many topics on this subject there are many opinions. So this is just a suggestion.

While chlorine is bad for a starter minerals can be good for a starter. Could over filtering be a hindrance too?

 

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

I will check to see what I can find on the contents of the water here.   And I will attempt to completely document the next try.   I have a couple of pictures of the mold but they are not really clear.   I will have to break out the good camera and get some good lighting.   

The-Naked-Baker's picture
The-Naked-Baker

Our water is considered on the extreme side of hard,  and since it's river water full of all kinds of fun things they use to treat it some things I have never heard anything good about, plus high levels of lead,  copper, iron...ect.  And where it is spring all the extra chemicals to combat the run off and snow melt.   I think I will just pick up a bottle of water and use that.