Silly starter question
I started a 100% Rye starter almost three weeks ago and it has been acting beautifully! I feed it a couple times a day using a 1:1:1: ratio. It will double in size after about four hours consistently, usually tripling after about 8-12. It very slowly falls after that. I've used it to make bread twice so far and both times, I haven't been able to get my bread to rise very well. the first time did better than the second, I had a decent open crumb but the loafs were very flat. The second loaves had amazing oven spring but were very dense. I let them all rise in my proofer set at 76 for the entire day and watched them carefully. They never overproofed or anything, they didn't even rise more than half an inch!
I hope this is okay, but this is the recipe I've used http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/rustic-sourdough-bread-recipe
The only differences I made were to take out the yeast they used and added 3/4 cup rye. For this recipe I switched my starter to a 50/50 mix of unbleached all purpose and rye flour.
Does anyone know why my starter is just refusing to make my bread rise?
I'm pretty new at SD, but I immediately wonder how long your bulk ferment and proof were. You say you proofed "the entire day" at 76, which isn't specific, and don't mention BF at all. I'd guess your dough was over-proofed.
50% AP and 50% rye SD bread all day at 76 F it would be goo and more suitable for making beer than bread. I don't do a bulk ferment for this kind of bread and can only get a 8 - 10 hour max cold 36 F proof out of it - if the the rye is whole rye.
I meant that my STARTER is now 50% AP and 50% Rye. Not the bread itself. It has less than 20% rye through the whole loaf at the end of the recipe.
No, it didn't over proof. It never started to proof. I had it in a container and measured the growth. It literally did not go up, I could tell when I touched the surface that there was no air in the dough. The bulk proof was around 2-3 hours and then the last proof was for about the same, neither time produced a noticeable rise. It has a good taste, a good crust but has a very dense texture.
Let's see... The ingredients are as follows... (correct me please if wrong)
2 teaspoons instant yeast(not used)
Now if I take the water, 360g and divide by the 748 flour (not including starter water or flour) and multiply by 100, I get 48% hydration in the dough. If I guess that the starter contained 100g water and 100g flour, I still come out with a 54% hydration. The cup of starter does add some moisture but rye is a thirsty flour... and no mention of additional water was mentioned. My guess is that the bread was rather stiff, perhaps too stiff to rise.
How did the dough feel?
What temperature is your starter?
Try feeding your starter 1:4:5 (S:W:F) and see how long it takes to peak out. Use room temp water to feed starter.
(20g:80g:100g) <--- (50g rye +50g AP wheat)
It was sticky, but I think that's just part of using Rye flour. I could handle it pretty well. I mixed it first in my Kitchenaid and then did a few stretch and folds to help it along a little. I noticed that during the stretch and folds that the dough didn't really want to stretch very far and that it had a tendency to rip a bit. I'm still fairly inexperienced and am learning as I go. I don't know anyone else that bakes homemade bread, so it's a self learning experience for me!
Oh! I didn't use the additional flour, I subtracted 3/4 cup of the all purpose and then added the Rye flour. In total I had 4 1/4 cups of all purpose and 3/4 cup of Rye for a total of 5 cups.
I'm not sure how to edit things so sorry for the many comments. My house stays around 55-68 but rarely any higher than that. I have a small proofer box that I'm considering putting my starter in for a few days.
I will try what the different ratio of water and flour to starter! Thank you for your help though, I'm really kind of lost as to why it isn't working the correct way, but I think you were right about the dough being to dry.
460g water divided by 750g flour (added in 100g each for sd starter) x 100 = 61% hydration still a little stiff might have been why it tore while folding. Upping the hydration would be good. Up the water to 500g... that would mean roughly between 1/8 and 1/4 additional cup of water. If the dough sticky bothers you, wet your fingertips first and rewet when you start to really stick to the dough. You do want a softer dough than this last time.
Try the 1 to 5 feeding, time it, and then when it peaks, use it in the next repeat of the recipe. Your rise time should be under the peaking time of that feeding. :)
Depending on your room temp, you can vary the feeding amount of the starter so it peaks and levels out to feed twice a day instead of multi feeds with little flour.
with that feeding ratio unless you give it equal amounts of water to flour. If you find the dough stiff, all you have to do is heavily wet your hands and play with the dough until it is absorbed and starts to stick, then wet your hands again and work it in. No biggie. Don't worry about the edit thingy. You are doing just fine! :) I'm off to bed, late here.
Thank you! I fed my starter at around 6:30pm and it is now 10:45, he has increased in size by around roughly 50%. I believe that is good?
I had no issues getting the water and such to mix together. Just took a few seconds of vigorous stirring. Should I keep my starter at that ratio constantly? Are there benefits to keeping it that stiff? I can certainly see that the bubbles are bigger as it rises. Before I was getting smaller bubbles but more rise, this time I am getting large bubbles and a more even rise.
Is that what is supposed to be happening? You said that my rise time with the recipe should be shorter than the peak time of my starter. Does that mean it will take almost 8 hours of rising time for my dough to finish rising by itself? The other person made it sound like you shouldn't let it go that long.
Let's see what it's done at 6am but it should be peaking.
You don't have to keep it stiff but I was interested is seeing how fast it could rise if given more food. Since the starter is standing out and not in the fridge, it will go through food faster. It is also easier to compare it to a dough as a starter is essentially a small dough. It is within "normal" for a starter to take 8 to 10 hours to mature at those temps with that feed ratio. It also breaks you out of a 1:1:1 feeding rut used for starting starters. The starter can turn you into its slave with such a feeding because it demands your attention every 4 hrs. or less. When summer temps come along, it will be even more demanding.
You have experienced the complete cycle from feeding to peaking and deflating the starter. Good so. Now by feeding it more, there will be a longer lag time before it starts to rise after feeding but it will take longer to go thru the food and stay risen longer. Making a bread dough is no different. It's a little tricky comparing volumes to weight but if looking at the recipe, one cup of sourdough starter for a feeding ratio of (200g:400g:650g) reduced (divide everything by 200) gives us (1:2:3.25) for which to compare. So this bread recipe is basically a 1,2,3 sourdough with a tad more flour. A good sourdough recipe to play with for anyone, beginner or experienced.
You might also choose to use that ratio to feed your sourdough starter for a while, gives you the feel of what happens with the dough and how long it takes to rise and break down. You can poke it, stir it, prod it, smell it and watch the bubbles noting how different they are as time progresses. This is valuable information when trying to asses the fermentation of any dough later on, when trying to decide when to stop fermentation and bake the thing before it deflates into a flat loaf. Since it is a starter and not a whole loaf of bread, you can deflate it and let it rise again. When done poking and the starter smells strongly fermented, discard and feed it or use it to build more starter for a loaf.
The feeding of 1:4:5 is less starter to flour than the recipe so it stands to reason that it will take more time to ferment and peak than the recipe. Raising the amount of starter to flour speeds up the fermenting process. We won't take a bread recipe to peak either or it will be over-fermented or over-proofed. So let the dough double during the rise and get a good feel for the smell of the dough, how it lays in the bowl, feel of the dough, etc.. Any sourdough worth its snuff, will get watery as CO2 gasses are given off, it's the chemistry of it. So a sour dough will gradually get wetter as it ferments. This is very different to doughs raised with instant yeast. To make up for the dough getting wetter and running more sideways than up, stretch and folds are added as the dough is bulk rising. If the dough is stiff enough to fight and tear (you've been there) it started out too dry and gluten cannot properly be developed to trap gas released by the slowed down yeast.
I woke up a bit late, oops. It's now almost 9am and I can tell that he peaked at some point through the night. He has deflated in the middle and flattened a couple centimeters. He's still full of air but he is definitely losing some at a slow pace. I took the lid off this morning to take a sniff and WHOA, there is some serious fermentation going on. I was a little surprised by how strong the smell was.
I believe that I was mistaken by how wet a sourdough dough should be, especially with the added rye. I'm used to making normal loafs of bread and thought that when mixing in the kitchenaid it should not stick to the sides. BIG MISTAKE. The next time I bake, I believe that I will do what you mentioned and use stretch and folds instead of my stand mixer. I was just a little unsure of the process considering that recipe only gives me the instructions for using an appliance.
Is there a recipe that you recommend for a novice SD baker? So long as it isn't whole wheat we should be good, the significant other doesn't appreciate the flavors!
Do you believe that my starter is strong enough in general to raise bread? I was worried that I had to much bad bacteria and that's why it wasn't raising bread. It smells nice and doesn't have any mold or anything but since this is my first I'm really not sure what to expect.
you just have to give it the time to do so. I would repeat the same recipe. With the amount of wheat flour in the dough, it is behaving like a wheat sourdough, you can still use the mixer but add some stretch and folds during the rise and this time it should be better with additional water. Don't be afraid to add more water.
Your starter sounds good, it should get mature before maintenance feeds. For dough builds the same starter gets fed and as it peaks or just before, use it into a recipe. You can still whip up a batch of dough now with the starter. Yes?
And save a little bit of starter to feed for the counter top maintenance. :)
Well, there are only two of us in the house and we don't go through bread that fast. I made my second loaf (the one I was talking about) just two days ago. I got around 2 pounds of dough. Once we run out of this bread, which should be soon enough, I will try again and use what you told me. I will keep up the feeding ratio that you gave me and when it peaks I will use it in the recipe. This is much thicker than I am used to though, will it change the water percentages. I'm still learning bakers percentage. It really helped that you changed the recipe to grams. Most recipes I've found only use "cups" to measure which is difficult for me to work with. It seems very open to things screwing up when you measure that way.
"It should get mature before maintenance feeds."? Does that mean my starter isn't fully mature yet?
after a fresh feeding, park it into the refrigerator. That will slow it down until next week for a bake. Use up the discard in other foods until then. Mark has a great muffin recipe for discard.
Grams are so much easier and recipes abound here. Just look thru the threads, sooner or later someone has changed a cup recipe to grams. I still would like to know what one cup of sd starter weighs, I'm always guessing at that one. If the hydration of a starter is lower than what the recipe calls for, just add the needed water to the recipe to make it higher. It is rather simple really. I use a calculator a lot. To check recipes before using them and to make up my own or tweak an existing recipe.
I have a couple of cup recipe books and my advice is to find the information that says how they measure a cup of flour for their recipes, earmark the page. Then measure how they suggest and then pour the flour onto the scale to see what it weighs, Then mark inside the book margin or on a 3 x 5 card what one cup weighs. Pretty soon you will have converted the recipe for the next time you decide to use it. I have also found recipes with options or re-google a recipe and tack on grams. A great way to find gram recipes.
Mature sourdough... sometimes I hate language... Relax. Let me drink my afternoon coffee first. Gulp, gulp, gulp...
It just means that we tend to use a sourdough starter as it peaks or just before peaking in a recipe, when it is most active and if we feed it, just to feed it (and not bake right away) it is good for the starter to get a little more sour or fermented before giving it more food. That way the starter culture can fight off bad bacteria and molds right away as they come from the fresh flour.
OH! Okay then, phew I was a little worried my starter wasn't strong enough yet.
May I ask who mark is? :) I've been wanting muffins and that sounds like a neat idea!
Really enjoying this thread, learning a lot.
Chiming in: When ever I get confused, I simplify. Strip down to basics. Flour, water, salt and starter. Build from there. Prove the proof. Sometimes, the best step forward is a step back.
Question for Mini Oven - I keep my starter cold at 100% hydration. I feed it 1:1:1 at least weekly. I use the 'discard' to build my bread. No waste. Is there anything wrong with this practice (I keep hearing about discarding 'spent fuel')?
Oh yes, and who is Mark and where are his muffins?
yes, it works. Nothing wrong with it. But standing out at warmer temps the starter does need more food or it will gradually raise the bread less needing more time to do so. It's all about available food and how fast the culture critters use it.
dobie, if you've no discard, what do you want the recipe for? (just kidding)
I might have stuck my big foot in my mouth. I can't find the recipe. ...I think it was Mark's recipe.... now I'm not so sure... :(
:) Turns out it's Mike Avery's recipe: http://www.sourdoughhome.com/index.php?content=blueberrymuffins
and variations here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/6706/golden-beet-sourdough-cup-muffins
I tend to use spelt flour with a rye starter. I've got einkorn starter at the moment that needs using up and I have a variety of frozen fruit and nuts. Also brown and maple sugar too. Butter flavoured oil is my sneaky tip.
That's what I do for when I make my bread Dobie. Well I tend to use all my starter. I was keeping roughly 120g of starter constantly, I think. I would feed weekly with 40g starter, 40g water and flour. I needed a bit more of that and then some left over to keep my starter alive and make the recipe. So I would just dump it all together and add a cup of flour and a cup of water. Maybe I was doing that wrong too... Hmm.
I was going to ask Mini: I have a 6.5 quart cast iron dutch oven, would this be okay to bake bread in? It seems everything I've found has said that this would be too big. I would post a picture of what my loaf turned out like, but I can't seem to figure out how to get a picture to here. Haha. It did rise and do well!
Dutch ovens are great to bake bread in. The lid keeps the steam in, good for oven spring. Remove the lid for the last third of the bake to crust it up.
If 6.5 qts is too big, double the recipe. I would rather throw out bread than starter. At least I learned something from my waste. You could always freeze it, share with a neighbor, feed the ducks or the homeless.
You might hear of pre-heating the DOven and then putting your dough in. Tricky, dangerous - but yes, do-able.
Still, I have found good success with proofing the dough in a DO at room temperature and then just putting it in the hot oven. Bake time's a little longer, but it's much safer. A circle of parchment paper on the bottom and/or a spray of oil will keep it from sticking (if necessary).
Re: Photos. If you go to the top of the page and click on FAQs, there is a page about how to add them to your post. I haven't much read it yet, so I am of no real help - other than to point it out.
Oh, and by the way - there are no 'silly starter questions', just the silly people who ask them (chuckle, chuckle). I mean that kindly.
Thanks for the links Mini Oven. I will feed up a little extra starter this weekend and give it a try.
I forgot to ask. What is 'Butter flavored oil'? - dobie
Hi everyone! I'm back again! I recently started to shift my Rye starter over to a 100% AP but I've noticed that there are distinct differences in the texture. Using AP seems to make it more soupy, which I don't like. The bubbles appear smaller compared to the Rye one. Is this normal or is something wrong? It still doubles consistently.
Rye soaks up more water than AP wheat. That is due to higher protein and higher fibre content. Just add more AP to get your favourite consistency and give the starter time to peak not just double before feeding. (it will take longer than rye to go thru the food.)
And give it more head room in the jar or container because when it does get active, it can easily rise 4 to 5 times the starting volume.