The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Good start to starter revival but what now?

Panettiera's picture

Good start to starter revival but what now?

Hi, I am seeking guidance for the next phase of reviving a refrigerated starter.It seems to be going well, but I don't know whether I should continue what I've been doing, slow it down somehow, or start discarding/replenishing. I've read all the advice I could find before asking here.Thanks (!!!) to extensive guidance posted on TFL and elsewhere, it seems to be on the right track, but I have NO experience with sourdough starter.  I'm getting the general idea but there are a lot of contradictions in the advice. Obtained a starter from a pizzeria which uses sourdough. Stuck in back of fridge for 8 weeks.

Began reviving a little less than 24 hours ago. Grayish black hooch, no mold. Time zero: Feeding #1 and "excavation" of flat clean starter..Followed Mini Oven's suggestions; tossed hooch, used a sterilized spoon to dig down to flat clean starter. Put a spoonful in a sterilized jar, along with 30 gm each of water and AP flour. House temp usually 64-67 deg F, but left overnight in oven with jar of hot water, temp in mid 70s.

12 hours later. Feeding #2:Volume increased about 2/3 over the 12 hours. Very bubbly. Scent:alcohol and acetone first notes;banana undertone. Added 50 gm each water and AP flour. Put on heating pad on low setting, which was barely warm. 8 Hours elapsed from feeding #2, (20 hours after first feeding).Doubled over the 8 hour period.Scent: greatly improved. Smells like (opinions of various family members): yogurt; yeast; slight floral smell; "mostly like pizza dough and something slightly synthetic, can't place it, like something in Dawn dish soap". A bit of alcohol.  Appearance: homogeneous. Fairly thick. Small bubbles visible throughout with a few larger bubbles on surface. When I pull the spoon up, the dough clings in strings (are these regular gluten strands?). It looks like a very high hydration dough. Briskly stirred, and it dropped half the height gain of last 8 hours, but is rebuilding. It's now only 22 hours after cleanup and first refeeding and it's about 350% of volume at that time . I have particularly benefited from Mini Oven's written advice to (1) use my nose to tell if the yeast are ahead of the bacteria in the competition; (2)  not feed "much" (?) until the yeast I want have announced their presence via smell; (3) not discard from the current build until the yeast I want are strong.' But I can't tell if I'm there yet.I do like the current scent, but it's complex, not just/mostly yeasty. Without question, whatever organisms are present are hearty. Should I slow this down somehow? Keep to even cooler temp (64-67 without warming)? Is there a certain point I should reach before moving to discard (how much?) then feed to replenish? At what point is it considered "stable"? I plan to follow Jim Lahey's procedure in his new book, Sullivan Street Breads, which involves taking a stable sourdough, adding a great deal of flour, and storing the starter as a fairly stiff biga rather than as a liquid. A thousand thanks. I am really knocked out by the generosity, kindness and expertise shared on this site. It's like what we originally thought the internet could be... Panettiera