I use some rye and AP flour to feed my starter and when i try to use it to either make bread or flat bread, turns out very sour - is it time to make a new starter? Appreciate your advice
The answer is in the maintenance and could also be how it's used in the final dough. But first things first...
A bit of history about your starter, it's maintenance and a typical recipe you have tried.
...and there's no need to ever throw your starter away unless it's got red/orange mould (in which case not ok to salvage) or other mould where it's too far gone to be salvaged. Otherwise a starter that's simply too sour or not sour enough just needs some TLC.
Thank you Abe, i had some chick pea flour mixed with some spices to make a flat bread, and thought i could add some starter to make them puffed up, so i did add 2 tbsp starter and mixed, but when i rolled they did not rise and were very sour.
I have adventured on making a bread but that too was very sour so am not sure what is wrong
The starter is nice and bubbly after i thaw her at room temp then i add some rye and ap flour to activate her and then the rest of the ingre.
Are you freezing your starter, then thawing to give a feed before using?
What kind of maintenance schedule/feed are we talking about?
Sounds like to me with the little info that your starter is not fed often at all. It then has a quick feed and used in a recipe. Keeping your starter in the fridge with weekly healthy feeds will make for a more balanced starter. Building levains are also a good way of balancing the flavour.
So for example keep a little starter, 10-20g, in the fridge. Then before using give it a healthy feed so you have enough for a recipe with 10-20g leftover. Take off what you need and return what's remaining to the fridge. So say you need 100g for a recipe...
Allow to mature, take off 100g to use and return the 10g-20g starter back to the fridge.
Even if you take a break from baking it's still good to feed it weekly in which case take it out, give it a smaller feed, allow it to double then return to the fridge. When it comes to baking again just discard a few grams to get it down to 10-20g and feed as above.
Just an example of how to manage a starter. Not the only way but a well fed starter is a tastier and healthier starter.
To take the tang off try giving it a few really good feeds over the next day or two then store in the fridge and settle into a regular maintenance schedule.
P.s. since you don't have scales i've given another idea below using cups. It does build more but it's still simple and easy to manage.
Sorry Abe, i meant bring her to room temp. But i honestly dont feed her on a weekly basis. the rest of your procedure i do. Will try feeding her often even not in use.
I keep mine in the fridge (correction)
Easy starter rescue:
(For references to flour below, prefer dark rye)
Take 30g starter (from under the surface) and put in fresh glass container. Add 30g flour and 30g filtered water=90g.
For a week, each day discard 60g and add 30g flour and 30g filtered water.
Save up discards in separate container to flavour pancakes.
By the end of the week, you should be back in business with something that is balanced, well fed, and hopefully yeast has reached level to crowd out any possible undesirable bacteria.
As a note: I don't touch my starter or flour wih hands... I use clean utensils and fresh, whole grains flour.
thank you happycat i have done this a no of times. I just use a spoon measure of 2tbsp and then in proportion i put her in a clean jar ap and rye flour.
I dont have a scale, not keen on having one, when i am going nowhere with my breadmaking.
Try a feed of:
Allow that to bubble up and mature. Should be peaked and have a nice aroma. Return 1/4 cup starter to the fridge and use the rest in a recipe.
I got my scale at a dollar store for CDN$4 and its has a tare function too.
Scales make everything easier in baking. Scooping flour is very imprecise. Easy to get way too much packed in a cup measure which can make bakes too dense.
Here is what I do.
Too acidic usually means overdeveloped starter.
No need to start from scratch, just give it a couple of “diluted“ feeds; for example, start with 10g starter, 40g each, water and flour.
Then (say) 20:60:60 after the peak rise of the first feed.
By the third feed, you should be back to normal feeds and a good starter. That is, a starter which rises to 2 to 3 times its volume and tastes only mildly acidic.
For fridge storage, use a “Dry“ feed; for example,10:6:4 flour:water:starter. It will slow it down a bit and reduce acidification.
I hope this is helpful.
thank you all for your suggestions - very grateful
i will try the tbsp measurement as i have discarded much flour.
I though i would try marys nest for busy people- looked very simple but mine did not rise. Used large quantity of flour and discarded
Thank you for store happycat to purchase a scale, will look for one.
Somewhere i read that if we use baking soda to the SD while making bread, it will make her less tangy/sour.
thank you again to all for your kind suggestions
Starter doesn't need lots of flour. My starter has been down to 7g sometimes in the fridge.. a tiny smudge. I just build it back up as I need it.
What's important is feeding ratio, not volume. Don't waste flour making huge amounts of starter if you don't need it for baking. Recipes on the internet are misleading in that way.
i like the youtube demos so i watch and try to make but mine becomes a different story - no one likes them as all are very hard and sour.
thank you for your help i may look for lessons if there are any out there during these covid times
Please help - my sourdough bread is sour in taste. I finally learn to make Comarty bread thank you to a member on FL but it is sour
I would like to try perhaps water kefir or fruit water kefir perhaps it may be less sour.
But to maintain water kefir grains we must add sugar - and am diabetic so that may not be a good option.
But i do love bread very much
I moved to a slightly stiff starter, something like 80% hydration (e.g. something like 20g starter, 60g water, 80g flour) for several feedings.
There are folks here with *much* more knowledge than I and hopefully one will chime in, but as I understand it a stiffer starter favors yeast vs he lactic acid bacteria which causes the starter to be too, well, acidic.
thank you Clevins
I discarded the SD and will start afresh and will try your suggestions
IF your new starter gets more sour than you want, just move to a stiffer starter for a few feedings (and feed it regularly for a while, not weekly etc). Usually you can rebalance the yeast/LAB ratio just by manipulating the feedings.
If you are going to let it sit in the fridge and feed weekly, I'd also lean to a slightly lower hydration. If you think you won't bake for several weeks, dry the starter and store it that way.
In a couple of weeks I’m going to create a new starter. Knowing better, but frustrated, I tossed my last one. Yes, I know better, but what’s done is done. Last starter was actually purchased. It was quite lovely at first and produced some decent loaves. I’d been following a routine of keeping 100 grams in the fridge, feeding that 100 grams with whatever amount was needed for the bake. I’d then pop that 100 grams leftover back in the fridge. Rinse and repeat for next bake. This was going along hunky dorey for a while, then it seemed that it was taking longer and longer for the starter to double. I posted a question somewhere and was told to take that starter out a day or so before planned bake and feed a few times. I did this, and it did become more active. However, the flavor profile was becoming more and more bitter, just not pleasant. The aroma of the starter equaled the flavor of the bread.
I would like to get an agreeable routine for the next one. I liked the ease of keeping it in the fridge and not feeding and discarding every single day. Can this somehow work? If so, how?
Laura what you’re proposing can work. However, you’ll definitely want your starter robust and healthy before you do it. You might need to feed it daily/twice per day for a few weeks before trying it. I’ve just posted my zero waste starter maintenance in my blog if you’re interested in reading it.
I totally am interested!
So I built a new starter a month ago and now what I do is to feed it weekly, when I bake. Here's my process: I usually bake early in the week, a loaf for sandwiches etc. The day before I start the process, I take the starter out in the morning and discard, feed. I do that once more at night. .The next morning I take part of the ripe starter and use it in the dough I'm making. I take another part, feed it, let it get a bit of a start in at room temp, then back in the fridge. Like this: Monday AM: Remove starter from fridge, discard down and feed.
Monday Evening: Same. I make sure there's enough that I can use this in the morning for both the weekly loaf with some left over to maintain the starter.
Tuesday AM: Start making the dough. Remove some starter from the main jar for use in this dough. Discard down, feed and refrigerate the main starter. Tuesday day: make the weekly bread. Rinse and repeat each week. Why this process? I want the starter i put back in the fridge to be healthy and strong. The feedings I do (in this example) on Monday morning and evening give it some room to grow and be a starter. I give it a bit of food before it goes back in the fridge so it's not being starved. This is a prettry robust starter. It easily doubles overnight at 72F and would double faster if I brought up the temp closer to 80F. I don't, because I want to be able to feed before bedtime and have it peaking around 7am which is about a 9 hour span for me.
I read this, but forgot to get back to say thanks!