June 22, 2022 - 6:25am
Starter Bubbling but Not Rising
I started my sourdough starter on 6/15/22 with 1/2 cup of fresh ground whole wheat flour (hard red wheat) and 1/4 cup of bottled water. The starter was very active the first day or two, and started to develop a clear liquid on top (I assumed this was hooch). around days 3-4, I noticed it started to slow down and didn't produce as many bubbles, so I did not feed it and gave it a chance to catch up. Today is one week since I started it (6/22/22), and I still have not seen the starter rise. I am giving it daily feedings with KA unbleached AP flour and bottled water. It smells a bit sour, but not overwhelming. Any advise?
I am a fan of the pineapple solution https://www.thefreshloaf.com/10901/pineapple-juice-solution-part-2
At the point where there is no activity, feeding it before there is activity dilutes the microbes that are trying to replicate, each time putting your further and further behind. What happened is typical, that first flush of activity isn’t the microbes you want. As those microbes you want start to populate the starter there will be little activity. On those days just stir and keep it warm. Once you start to see bubbling just stir until that bubbling seems to stop, then you can do a feed.
I agree with Barry, use the pineapple solution, it does work. Or just stir a couple of times per day until you start to see activity before you feed again. Patience is a big virtue when creating a starter from scratch.
What is the correct ratio of pineapple to flour to begin a new starter? I have been doing 1/2c flour to 1/4 c water. Is pineapple juice only used the first initial creation? Or used for feedings too?
Read the linked thread, it is all laid out for you there.
Do you know if the Apple cider mentioned is the juice or apple cover vinegar?
The instructions say apple cider and not apple cider vinegar. The apple cider vinegar would have too low a pH while apple cider would be fine.
If your starter is sour but not rising, it is almost ready. It should start rising tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. I do not know which proportions you are using for feeding it. And at what temperature you are keeping it. Do you have a thermometer?
Feed it 1/2cup of existing starter + 1/2cup flour+ 1/4cup water. Discard the rest of the old starter. It is best to keep it at 25-27C (77-81F) away from the air conditioner is you have one on.
You can add a sprinkle of sugar (or 1tsp of honey) if you wish, as well, it will stimulate yeast growth. Feed twice a day every 8-16 hours. Feed, wait for eight hours, then feed again, wait for sixteen hours and feed again, etc.
The first three days must be whole grain flour, only later you can switch to feeding it white flour. This recipe is from San-Francisco Baking Institute. It works 100%.
1. Your starter is only 1 week old. Benny's right: patience. Give it time.
2. Mariana's advice is good: whole grain flour is the way to go when starting a starter. Indeed why not stay with whole grain till it gets consistent. I recommend rye.
3. when I started my 100% rye starter, feeding it 1:1:1, as most instructions suggest, I got lots of bubbles & no rise. It stayed that way for months -- usable but inconsistent. Basically: I had to come to understand what my starter culture wanted. Now I feed it once a day -- 1:3:3 or so -- and it more than doubles within 12 hours.
are important here too. Don't use straight from the tap water which has chlorine or chloramines. When I did a new starter a couple months ago I used organic wheat flour, a gallon of distilled water and it was active all the way through. If you can, I'd hit up a supermarket and get whole wheat flour or rye and a gallon of water (distilled or spring. Nothing with chlorine).
Then try to keep it warm as much as possible. I have a proofer, so I kept mine at 82F all the time which sped the process. If your environment is cooler than that you'll be fine, things will just take longer. Be patient.... you're almost there.
I don't disagree abt the potential impact of chlorine, but 2 questions:
1. from what I understand, distilled water removes pretty much every so-called impurity from H2O. So wouldn't this get rid of all the minerals that might be said to make up a region's water terroir?
2. If someone suspects high chlorine levels, wouldn't it be just as good to allow the water to sit out in a pitcher overnight? Am I wrong in understanding that chlorine evaporates?
I have found that NYC's tap water -- which is definitely chlorinated -- works fine in my sourdough without evaporation. Same for my brother's upstate NY well water, which smells strongly of sulfur yet makes great bread.
You CAN use chlorinated water - it won't kill all the yeast etc - but it will knock them back, so it makes establishing a new starter more difficult and take longer. My thought on that is that you're trying to get a new culture going so why do anything that inhibits it?
You're right on distilled water. Spring water is an alternative (non-chlorinated but not distilled so it has some minerals). You can leave chlorinated water out and it will dissipate overnight but if the water has chloramine vs chlorine, that will not dissipate.
And, I'm talking about establishing a new starter. Vigorous starters have more leeway and I just use filtered tap now. But when getting a starter going, my take is to make it as easy as possible for the yeast and bacteria we want. Flour, preferably organic, that provides a lot of nutrients. Pure water. Warm surroundings.
I left the starter alone, and moved it to a new warmer area with no AC vents. When I came back a few ours later, it had risen about 1/2”.
It took quite a while for a rise and fall. I fed it last night (6/23/22), and this morning I’m noticing that is is on a rise again. Fingers crossed!
Patience is really required when making a starter. Your patience in not feeding is paying off.