Hi Eric, I have been using my sourdough starter for about 6 years now. About 3 months ago I noticed a change in behavior when I would feed it. There were more bubbles coming to the surface and it was like pure vinegar flavor. So this week, I decided to begin again and I am working with the whole wheat/pineapple juice formula. My question is around timing. I started on Friday. By Saturday evening, it was very active so I did the day #2 feeding. This morning, only 12 hours later, it was also very active so I fed it again. Am I causing harm to the result I want by feeding it sooner. I just don’t want my new yeastie beasties to run out of food. Thank you for the help, Ellen
Hi Eric, Error to above. In my old starter there were no bubbles coming to the surface. After awhile, it would rise but the crumb lost those great holes. Anyway, water over the proverbial dam, I just don’t know what changed. Anyway, my questions really revolve around the new starter I am working on as outlined in the last message. Thank you Ellen
I don’t think you can harm it by feeding it sooner. It’s hard for me to get much of a sense for what’s up with your old or new starter. Some generalities are easy to advise on but hard to pinpoint details sometimes. The “pure vinegar” part sounds a bit like your starter is just not getting enough to eat and/or being fed often enough. If you can attach photos here to the forum, that can help.
I found your wonderful site last week and have two starters going, a white one and a rye one. And have made a rye loaf and pizza. After some time on your site and watching a couple videos, I know more abour sourdough and starter than I pearned in the past 40 years. Thank you so very much.
We have finally managed to get our starter going and baked some great bread and pizza base. It took 2 weeks to get a good starter, I think it was just too cold as we were having heavy frosts and the the kitchen was not warm, but all looking great now. Eating lots of bread though!
I realize this is an old thread, but hoping someone might check it. I’ve tried this sourdough recipe twice and I’m wondering if you can use the wrong kind of flour. I am using 100% whole wheat flour for my starter and it never doubles in size when I do the last step with big one cup flour and 3/4 cup water. It’s the same size was it was, but it is bubbly. I still baked with the first starter I made — the bread was delicious, but didn’t rise. What am I doing wrong? Or is this how whole wheat starter behaves? Thanks in advance for anyone who may be out there.
Hi all- I studied and used the post of Debra Wink to make my first ever sourdough starter which is in its third week of life. The results were excellent, largely due in my opinion to the precise explanations of the biochemistry of fermentation, especially the role of acidity on a culture. This is not only valuable information for bread-making but also for wine-making, brewing, and other ferments so common in the kitchen. The only thing that I can add is that it may be important to use flour for the starter that is freshly ground, or as freshly ground as possible. I first used a flour which was over a year old, without success. Once I added a more recently produced flour, it took off. This may be due to dormancy or die-off of bacilli and/or yeasts naturally occurring on the flour. But other than that, this is really useful stuff at least to me, which convinced me to sign up to Breadtopia. All the best, Jim
Hi!! I’m happy to be here!! I hope to learn all I can about making bread! From looking at my failures I need all the help I can get!! Thanks for the welcome!!
I’m following along with the "How to Make Sourdough starter. I have successfully created 2 other starters in the past. This is the first time I have used pineapple juice to make starters. Today is day 4 and I have life!! What I’m wondering is should I continue with the pineapple juice or switch to water? It seems using pineapple juice must keep the bad bacteria from getting a foothold and allowing the good bacteria to thrive.
Can I add whole wheat spelt flour to my starter?
I make all my bread with spelt flour
Absolutely. Your starter will love it. If you’ve been using white flour, you probably won’t see quite the same rise or bubbly sponginess when feeding with a whole grain flour, but your starter will be very healthy. Also be alert to the starter needing feeding more often when using a whole grain flour. The starter will metabolize a whole grain flour faster than white flour. Plus there’s the issue of wheat germ in whole grain. White flour based starters can sometimes be neglected for weeks in the fridge and be revived fairly easily. You may not want the wheat germ oil in your whole spelt flour languishing in the fridge for long periods of time. Translation: be more vigilant about feeding it at least weekly, maybe even more often.
Tried my crack at this lovely starter, my whole wheat was a total fail, completely liquid consistency similar to watered down pancake batter, my white flour was a complete success, so excited.
I will browse comments and replies before posting my questions.
Love this recipe! On day four and it’s already doubled after I fed it. Used whole wheat flour and🍍. The pictures are a before and after feeding it. Smells a tad sour and like beer.
Was just reading through this post and wanted to add a tip. If your place is to cold get a new starter going what I did was keep my starter jar in a water bath of warm tap water. Once it’s going you won’t need the water bath
Hi i have your live starter culture I started and is ready to be feed with bread flour. Step one I used wheat flower. I also made your pineapple starter. Down the road. Can I add the two together so I only have 1qt jar.
When I get busy. I have heard you can freeze the whole starter (not dried). How is that done
Yes, you can combine them. Would make life easier. But I’d be leery of freezing it. Did that once when I was going to be out of the country for 6 months. I wasn’t able to revive it. You’re better off drying some per this: https://breadtopia.com/drying-sourdough-starter-for-long-term-storage/
Hello, I noticed that you did not discard part of the mixture before adding more flour and water, as many other videos indicate. Does that matter? I hate to discard any part of it and waste it, but my starter is nice and sour after a month but has only tiny bubbles, it does not double at all. What am I doing wrong?
I’ve lost that sour dough taste, but the yeast still produce a nice bread! I have tried numerous online dried sour dough starters. After a few weeks/ months the sour dough is gone. My last product came from Alaska and I had three or four nice sour dough breads, then bland. Any explanation?
Last week at a farmer market (Seattle area) a baker shop booth was selling Sour Dough bread so I bought a loaf and ask them the same question. They didn’t have an answer but offered a bit of their starter if I return next week. Which I was happy to hear and plan to return. Meanwhile I took their bread home and cut into it - not a hint of sour. So is there a range of sour? From mouth puckering to bland?
I’m now just trying the pineapple method. Using fresh pineapple. We’ll wait and see but I really would like to figure out why my sour is dying off. BRB
You may find the information in this thread very helpful for understanding how to manipulate the sourness of your bread.
The character of your starter can change quite a bit through how you care for it (temp, flour type, feeding schedule).
And two breads made from the exact same starter can also have different sourness depending on how you do the fermentation (temp, time, flour type, amount of starter used).
Lots of fun variables to play with!
You are so right Melissa! What is important for all new bakers is to know they can experiment and start over on sourdough leavening. Do not be afraid to try different mediums to create your starter.
I grew up with a Mother who baked bread constantly for our family, after we left home and for grands and now great grands. She kept her “mother” in the basement next to a gas hot water tank. She was so smart.
I love making sourdough starters. I’ve tried many different mediums most are perfect-some fail in taste only.
I have dehydrated oven from years gone by that I have dried my starters-broke into pieces and placed into envelops & stored in pantry, I share throughout my community for those who want to start their own bread leavening.
One that was so fast for me was Keifer. I created my Keifer (I bought grains from Yogourmet.com) then added flour to it for several days-it was a wow of a starter for all breads I created.
I also make homemade yogurt every week. This fall I started a starter with my yogurt-looked beautiful, bubbly-bake loaf of bread-well it was too sharp for some of my friends. I threw out-started again from my dehydrated grains from last winter.
I work in the public so my bread baking takes backseat. I so easily start new sourdough from my stored envelops I keep in my cabinets-in 3 days I have beautiful starter. Don’t think you have to use a starter that is 100 years old-yes they exist-that is not my goal.
I want good food to share with my family & friends. So my message is “don’t be afraid of starting over your starter”. Enjoy the process, then the arrival for great bread made by your hands (and our farmers who provide the grain).