The Fresh Loaf

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Which point to use starter during its rise/fall cycle?

young_and_poolish's picture

Which point to use starter during its rise/fall cycle?

Is it best to use my starter when its at its peak? At the moment I am mixing up the leaven at the time of the starter's normal feed (when out of the fridge i feed every 24 hours, so i make the leaven 24 hours after last feeding).

This is essentially when the starter is becoming exhausted, or is exhausted, however i have always thought that as I'm mixing it into a leaven, this would count as a feeding, fresh flour/water etc. I am then doing the float test before mixing into a dough, around 8-9 hours later.

I am assuming this is correct but I am a beginner so my knowledge is in need of long fermentation.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Exact details if you can.  Amount details, temp and flour type, please.  Also if you are happy with the way the starter is working for you.  That is most important.  And yes, everytime fresh flour is added, it is like a feeding.  Adding starter to a recipe is feeding the starter only more like a last feast.  :)  

It sounds like your feeding for a levain is going fine.  Wait for it to peak, while the rising is still dome shaped.  When a dimple appears in the middle of the dome, it will start to flatten out before it starts to level out and fall.  You want to use it when that dimple starts to appear before it levels out.  (or just before)  When the levain has at least doubled it's volume (often trippled) go ahead and use it.  If it dimples and falls before reaching double, the levain is too weak and should be refreshed or fed again for more yeast power before using. 

It is often hard in the beginning to know exactly which questions to ask about the starter.  I see you are feeding every 24 hours so that would tell me that your starter is stored between meals in a rather cool location (under 21°C) and/or it has proportionally large feeds to get thru 24 hours.