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When is a starter ready for use? Substitute for red rye malt in Borodinsky

Nominingi's picture

When is a starter ready for use? Substitute for red rye malt in Borodinsky

I took a batard of Norwich Sourdough to an potluck recently and was told by new Uzbekistani friends there that the taste of the bread was the closest they've had to that of home they've had since moving to Canada. Long story short: they are joining me in the next few days to bake Norwich SD and will then go home with their own starter. I'm compiling a primer for them and would appreciate tips on how to describe a starter that is ready for use.

The reason I pose this question is because I've left off waiting for my starter to double or bubble acitively. I simply KNOW it's ready after the nine months or so that I've been baking. Gut instinct is not a good tool to with which to teach.

The Uzbekistanis are keen to start baking Borodinsky bread as well, something I've yet to try although this site certainly has enough information available for me to do so sometime. Is there an acceptable substitute for red rye malt


Thank you

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

One can do a build and use when peaked. Or one can take starter from the fridge if built to the correct specifications. Either or. 

Just bear in mind a mature starter may be faster. 

If following a recipe and it calls for it then follow the recipe. If making your own bread then by all means use from the fridge. Reasons why one might build a mature starter/preferment...


You don't have enough.

You need to build to a specific hydration and/or flour.

You're following a recipe where using a mature starter is required for timings specified. 

You haven't fed it in quite some time and you wish to make sure all is good and healthy before using in a dough. 


vtsteve's picture

Rough guide to liquid levain:

  • Young - A spoonful of starter floats in water
  • Mature - Starter has peaked, fine soap-sudsy bubbles on top
  • Past prime - Starter is falling (left a high-water mark on the jar)


dabrownman's picture

malted barley at the beer making brew shop.  They might have some rye malt but most likely they will have chocolate or double chocolate (color not the ingredient) barley malt.  You can also make your own red rye malt like i do.

Making Red Rye Malt

Happy Malt Making