The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Starter struggles

RookieBaker's picture

Starter struggles

Hey, everyone - 

As the name would suggest, I'm a rookie.  My very first starter ever was born on November 10th;  100g water + 50g WW + 50g Rye.  And, based on all that I have read here, it has been pretty predictable;  bubbles after a few days, some good gas bubbles throughout the starter, rising a little - more and more each day, etc.

On November 20th, I'm thinking I am a PRO!  I would attach a picture - but, for some reason, unable to do so today.  But, suffice it to say that it was so impressive I almost quit my job to become a professional starter maker!  

On November 23rd, I spun-off another starter from that original;  20g of the existing starter + 100g water + 100g APF. 

Today, reality has hit home...thankfully, I did not quit my job!

The APF starter gets plenty of bubbles on the surface but NEVER rises.  And, the APF starter has now taught my WW starter terrible habits.  The WW starter has no become very lazy!  He rises MINIMALLY and has much fewer bubbling throughout.  And, he sinks like a rock!  I have also had a few days where both starters suddenly smelled like nail polish remover.  

I am getting a little less consistent meaning that I had been feeding every 12-hours but, on the days when the starter is effectively doing nothing I will wait for the 24-hour mark and then feed.  I find that the majority of the WW starter activity is in the final hours before the 24-hr mark;  the APF just bubbles and does not much more than that.

When I feed I am doing 1:5:5;  20g starter + 100g water + 100g WW (or APF, respectively.)

I feel like my starter should be well on its way by now.  But, it seems like I have gone backwards 2 weeks.

Should I be trying to jump-start the starter or just stay the course and keep on keepin' on?

Any advice would be greatly, greatly appreciated!

phaz's picture

For both, and any starter, get a wet dough like consistency and maintain that consistency - whatever it takes - till you get good growth. Enjoy!