Managing Your Sourdough Starter

(Melissa) #82

That’s great that you’re making progress! I’m amazed you could ferment a dough at room temp for two days. Anything beyond 14 hrs (and that’s​ with winter house temps below 65), I’d have slack soup instead of dough. But amount of starter factors in. I’m using 75-80 grams of starter on doughs with approx 500 g flour. If you’re using much less starter, perhaps longer works.

I get medium holes if I use whole grain, and big holes with white flour and lots of water. Are you referring to large holes in bread on the blog about starter maintenance? That’s not my blog/bread – I’m sorry if I misled you on that!

(Karla) #83

What is the rough ratio of starter to flour? I am with Eric on not measuring, so I just pour out the jar, throw in a bunch of flour, turn on the tap, stir and cover. Then I mark the level with a rubber band, and wha-lah! It doubles.

It seems like there must be a perameter where the ratio for inoculation is not high enough though because…

When recipes call for a lot of starter (2cups) you are instructed to feed a few times at 8 or so hourly intervals. Why not just inoculate more flour and water?

In the same vein, some recipes call for a lot of starter and some (Eric’s I have noticed) don’t. Am I correct that more starter = shorter bulk ferment = less sourness?

(Norman) #84

Eric, I have 2 1/2 cups of starter left in my refrigerator. I only bake 1 maybe 2 loaves of bread a week. Can I keep just a half a cup of it and feed it a 1/2 cup flour and water and mix it and put right back in the refrigerator? Most of the recipes I have only us 1/4 cup of sourdough starter. I’ve been baking no-knead bread for about 3 years now, by the way baked my first sourdough bread this week using your starter recipe it was a great taste and beautiful crumb :slight_smile:

(Eric) #85

Yes, that can be a good way to go about it.

(Peggy Sue) #86

Why do you change from the plastic container to a big glass container after the starter is completed? Also, will a canning jar work using a canning lid?

(Eric) #87

Just going to a larger container to hold more starter. Yes, a canning jar will work too.

(jrwilson) #88

Hi all- I have been experimenting with managing a sourdough starter and making sourdough pizza crusts. I have recently encountered an interesting phenomenon that I would like to share. I used a recipe for sourdough pizza crust from this site, consisting of 1.5 C bread flour (high gluten), 1.5 C sourdough starter, 1-3 Tbsp water as necessary, 2 Tbsp of olive oil and 3/4 tsp salt. I used a Kitchen Aid standing mixer to do the first knead, for about 15 minutes. I Turned it out and folded it for about 5 minutes on a marble board with a light layer of flour. It was elastic but not optimal. I put in in a lightly oiled pan to rise overnight. The next morning, I checked the dough and it looked like all the elasticity was gone, as though the gluten had been destroyed. So clearly, timing must be important with this recipe. I used another recipe that called for less starter and more water, with good results. Does anyone have any ideas about how to use this recipe and preserve the elasticity of the dough? Or is this an indication that all is not right with my starter?

Thanks for any ideas you have.


(Melissa) #89

In general, less starter means you have a slower ferment/proof, while more starter means faster ferment. That overnight proof may have exhausted your dough. There was too little food over too much time.

(Harleyellen05) #90

A couple of months ago, I developed a new starter using the pineapple juice method. Once developed, initially it was very vigorous. Over a period of time, it seemed to become less than. I even took it with us on camping vacation and fed it a few times; it was stored in the bottom of the ice chest in-between. It is now 3 months later. I usually feed it 3 times a week at 100% hydration. It now has a very sour bite to it and takes about 4 - 6 hours in a 77 degree room before it seems ripe. It does not rise to any significant amount. Can anyone tell me what went wrong or what I should do?

(Eric) #91

How would you describe the consistency of your starter?

(Harleyellen05) #92

Between very thick pancake batter and brownie batter.

(Eric) #93

A common problem is too runny a starter which prevents a good rise. But that doesn’t seem to the problem in your case. You might try stiffening up your starter so it’s more in the direction of the brownie batter and see if that helps. I don’t know what the problem is. Do you leave your starter at room temp all the time or store in the fridge between use and feeding? I ask because feeding 3x a week is a lot unless you’re baking a lot or leaving at room temp all the time. And if you’re leaving it at room temp all the time, feeding 3x a week isn’t enough.

(Harleyellen05) #94

Thanks, Eric. I do bake 2-3x per week and feed accordingly. I have it out when I am replenishing. Living in Florida, even with the AC on, the kitchen is usually around 77 F. Reading between the lines of your comments, I started thinking that I might not be leaving it out long enough to thoroughly develop and that I should try to make it just a bit more firm. Today after feeding, I had it out for about 7 hours. I did about 95% hydration. I keep a smaller crock so the remaining mother is about 4-5 oz. I add 5.5 oz flour, (1oz whole wheat, 1oz rye, and the rest unbleached white,) and 5 oz filtered or spring water. It seemed to expand more and show more activity on the surface. Just to hedge my bets, I have made a new batch too, using only rye. The recipe called for 1 part rye and 2 parts water for each of the first two days. By the latter part of day three, it was becoming very active so I fed it 1 part rye and 1 part water. (I use ounces or grams rather than volume.) Later this week, I’ll start feeding it with part unbleached white. I’m making 4 - 2# loaves this coming Thursday. Love all the information on Breadtopia, Thank you

(Eric) #95

Sounds like you have this.

I keep a 100% whole rye starter in addition to a white bread flour version. The white easily doubles in volume after feeding. The rye barely moves. Both perform about the same. The more a starter is in the direct of whole grain, the less it’s going to rise after feeding compared to its white flour equivalent.

(daf) #96

Sour Doug
I’ll start by saying I am new to this and like others I have a sour Doug bread problem. I have been buying my bread from the local super market. They all seem to have the same baker because they all taste the same. For the past year I have obtained starter from Breadtopia and many other suppliers. I have over (7) starters at this time and they are indeed sour but after my bread comes out of the oven I can’t smell or taste any sourness to the bread. I have done the feeding every day on two and every other day on the others. Should I give up and keep buying my bread from Traitor Joe’s or can someone give me some ideas. I forgot one of my starters after moving and after a week I went back and found it. I had nothing to lose so I feed it and boy did it come back. It looks good and I even tasted it, sour starter for sure but the bread had no sour flavor. I used the no knead method.

(bthomas) #97

I bake bread often and would love to bake sourdough (it’s the only bread I currently buy from the store) but every recipe requires a huge container. I have a tiny fridge and a family of four so there’s no room for a permanent 1 or 2 liter container of something that’s not used on a daily basis. Is there any way I could make and keep an amount that would fit in a regular mason jar or something similar?

(kicranston) #98

I’m new to starters, and I purchased Breadtopia’s wet Sourdough Starter and started feeding it last week. I have followed the directions & video exactly. I feed it once a day and the starter is bubbling up nice & spongy everyday. The one thing I have noticed since switching to a glass jar ( rubber seal removed) is that it is smelling like bad feet/cheesy once it rises up. Immediately after feeding it, it smells a bit more mildly like cheese and flour. Is this normal? if not, what can be causing it and how can I fix it?

(alandmike) #99

Can you tell me what temp the starter needs to stay at as you are making it?

(Jacquie) #100

I used a recipe for starter that used 2 cups flour and 1 1/2 cups water to start, then fed 1/4 cup water and 1/3 cup flour daily for 7 days. I used whole grain spelt. Then I made your sourdough spelt bread that only requires 1/4 cup of starter. As you can imagine I have a lot of starter. How would one lessen the amount of starter and how soon could I make another bread and how much would I then feed it to replenish? This recipe wants to replenish using 2 cups starter, 1 1/2 cups water and 2 cups flour. This was my first attempt at this.

(Melissa) #101

My advice would be to set aside most of your starter to make sourdough pancakes and sourdough naan. Then with the 1/2 cup you retain, feed it about 1/2 cup flour and 1/3 cup water. I usually bake 2 loaves at a time so this works for me. You can do a lot of other techniques and smaller amounts like building off a Tbsp of starter. I have had days when I use all but a smear of starter and I build back to a couple of cups in 24 hrs. It’s amazing stuff.