URGENT sourdough starter question!
Posted: 17 April 2008 08:52 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi all!
Sorry I haven’t introduced myself first, will do as soon as I finish asking about my poor starter!!

I started it as per Rose’s instructions in the bread bible and got up to day 4, at which stage it wasn’t QUITE as active as she said it should be, though it was still bubbly and smelling distinctly citrusy.

So I decided to feed it again and give it one more night out before I double and refrigerate it. Did so and now it smells REALLY alcoholic, like methylated spirits and is not very active at all. A few bubbles, but not tons.

Shall I chuck it? refeed it? refrigerate it? completely new to baking sourdough here (though I have done bread before!) and quite bewildered.
Any help welcome.
Thanks
a.

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Posted: 17 April 2008 03:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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keep feeding, it is like THAT!

There is a huge sourdough starter discussion on the blog, your question has been addressed.

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Posted: 17 April 2008 08:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks Hector, I tried looking on the blog and read several of the sourdough starter questions, but couldn’t find it..can you link me please?

Shall I just keep throwing out half and feeding the rest? When will it get to the stage where I can start using it to bake bread?

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Posted: 17 April 2008 08:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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(after you click on the link below, wait a little for the web page to load and automatically jump to the topic you ask).  Good luck.

http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2005/12/a_quick_and_easy_sourdough_sta.html#comment-62733

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Posted: 17 April 2008 09:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Mine took longer to get going too.  About two times as long… just be patient.  I have two now… one named Wheaton, the other named Rose.  Instead of throwing half out every week, I feed it and make pizza dough out of it. Yum.  It’s our Saturday night ritual.

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Posted: 17 April 2008 09:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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oh, yes, Rose indeed said that the “one ingredient” left out of her bibles is patience, specially for the sourdough starter birth!

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Posted: 18 April 2008 10:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Thank you Hector and Tbarley! Your help is much appreciated smile

I kept feeding Mary (named because she is Mary, mother of bread) and she is quite acive now, bubbly and doubling, in about 12 hours.

What shall I do at this stage? I have read the chapter on sourdough in BB but am really confused. Can I start baking bread with it? Do I need to convert it to a stiff starter? Shall I double and refrigerate like rose states after day 5?

If I do start baking bread with it, shall I convert it to stiff and use the basic sourdough recipe and then refresh once a week?

Thanks!
a.

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Posted: 18 April 2008 11:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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the answers are on the bread bible, and that would be a yes to all your questions =)

personally, I have converted to stiff starter, and the Basic Sourdough Bread is the recipe I have baked by the hundred times!

I just want to give you another fact, that may help you understand what is going on each time things double bubble.  The ambient temperature is a main effect, warmer equals faster, colder equals slower.

Literally, you could eternally continue to refresh your liquid starter (as you have it now), each time it doubles.  At room temp would be about every 12 hours (sometimes can be as fast as 6 hours, depending on ambient temperature).  Many books do it this way.  But, I prefer Rose’s method of feeding only once a week, by keeping it refrigerated.

I give you a heads up, that once you have your starter, refrigerated, weekly fed, some weeks you will notice that there isn’t much activity, some weeks a whole lot.  That depends again on your ambient temperature, in this case how many times you open/close your refrigerator doors, or how much food it is holding.

There are other factors besides temperature, but just wanted to give you some sort of explanation why things happen so randomly and away from the book at times!

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