The Fresh Loaf

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Struggling with recipe Levain

acuts1's picture
acuts1

Struggling with recipe Levain

Hello

I am new to making Sourdough and struggling with my Levain. I have tried a couple different SD recipes without success. After reviewing my notes (temperatures, fermentation times etc) I feel the issue lies with my Levain.

I am using a starter (10% Rye, 90% Bread Flour) that is 6 weeks old. I feed 10g starter twice daily at a 1:4:4 ratio. It always doubles and has moderate amount of bubbles. 

 The recipes that I have tried, call for a 20% Levain at a ratio of 1:2:2. Recipe states that the Levain should be ready to use (mature) in 5-6 hours.  1 recipe utilizes Bread Flour only and the other using a combination of  Rye,Whole Wheat and bread floor ( 5%, 15%,80%). My room temperature is a constant 77 F.

The issue that i am having is that when i increase the volume of Levain ( for recipe) , starter is not behaving the same way as it does on daily feedings. It does not rise at all and gas activity is minimal; even after 6 hours. I have tried slightly increasing water temp and\or air temp to 80F however does not seem to help.

Can anyone offer any suggestions as to what may be the issue?

Thank You

 

phaz's picture
phaz

Give the starter a normal feed. Stir vigorously every 12 hrs. Only - i repeat - only feed it a normal feed when it doesn't - again - doesn't  rise any more. Stir every 12 hrs and use it next day. Enjoy! 

acuts1's picture
acuts1

Thanks...due to my schedule work, i think i got stuck on a feeding it a certain time rather than when it was needed

phaz's picture
phaz

When it doesn't rise after stirring means it needs food. If ya stick to that you'll have a very strong starter in a very short period of time, and it'll stay that way. Then you may be closer to timings given in a recipe - hopefully! Enjoy! 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I can only speak from experience with my starter(s). But I read from many bakers that their starter behaves quite differently from what I’ve experienced with mine. The instructions given for 5-6hr at that ratio, temperature (~77F) and flour mix sounds typical. BUT, starters are unique. Some mature much faster than others. Some rise much more than others.

Your temp sounds great. If you want to try to strengthen your starter, give this a try. Take a small portion of your original starter (keep your original going, just to be safe). Mix 1:1:1 using 100% whole rye. If you have the option keep it at 80-82F. It may mature in 4 hours. Refresh it when your starter just begins to recede. Continue this cycle for 3 or more feedings. You should see a rise in activity.

Additional Resources 

Danny

 

acuts1's picture
acuts1

I created my starter from a 100% rye and had great activity on a regular basis. I slowly moved away to 10%Rye\90% bread flour starter after reading a few posts from those whose recipes that i am trying. not sure why they have had success with that ratio and I have not.  I have noticed a big decline in activity since i moved away a higher ratio rye; maybe I weakened my starter at some point.  

I will give your suggestion a try along with Phaz's comments to only feed when needed.