Trouble with sourdough starter
Posted: 14 April 2011 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hey gang!  I took the plunge and started a starter.  Except it won’t start.  Day 1 and 2 I had a ton of activity and since then I can’t get it to rise past 16 ozs.  I’ve tried using bottled spring water and city water that’s been left out overnight.  I tried getting some fresher bread flour (King Arthur).  Nothing.  It’s been 2 weeks now and I’m ready to scrap it and start over but wanted to check with ya’ll to see if you had any advice.

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Posted: 14 April 2011 01:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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pavlovcat - 14 April 2011 03:36 PM

Hey gang!  I took the plunge and started a starter.  Except it won’t start.  Day 1 and 2 I had a ton of activity and since then I can’t get it to rise past 16 ozs.

I didn’t have success until I tried the grape starter method.  Still, “they” all say that your method will eventually work, it just takes time.  Whole wheat rye is usually regarded as an essential component because there are more likely to be wild yeasts present.

I’m not sure what you mean about not getting to rise past 16 oz.  The normal measure of success is whether you’re getting a doubling or not; if you start with 8 oz and it doubles to 16 oz, you’re doing pretty darn good.

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Posted: 14 April 2011 03:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I know it’s cheating, but I purchased a starter from King Arthur and had no issues keeping it going.

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Posted: 14 April 2011 08:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The final rise before it’s considered truly active is supposed to be 3-4 times the original amount, according to the Bread Bible.

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Posted: 14 April 2011 09:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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pavlovcat - 14 April 2011 11:07 PM

The final rise before it’s considered truly active is supposed to be 3-4 times the original amount, according to the Bread Bible.

If you’re starting off with 8 oz or so, and growing to 16 oz, then your culture is clearly active, although it might not raise the bread as quickly as you wish.  If you want to experiment with it, you might add a bit of commercial yeast to the bread to increase the leavening.  Allowing the bread to rise for too long a period might make it too sour.

The culture will grow stronger; you might consider increasing the number of feedings per day.  I wouldn’t throw it out, since you’re clearly seeing some activity.  What is the ambient temperature around the culture?

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If error is corrected whenever it is recognized as such, the path of error is the path of truth.

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Posted: 15 April 2011 12:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I too have tried the grape method detailed by Nancy Silverton in the Master Chefs w/ Julia book. Note: use ORGANIC grapes- it’s the white substance(mold I think) where the grape and stem meet that give you the yeast action. It will work. I have never tried the simple ‘wild’ yeast method. Nancy gives thorough instructions for the organic grape method.

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Posted: 16 April 2011 03:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Our thermostat is set to 69 during the day and goes down to 64 at night right now.  Should I put it in a warm oven?

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Posted: 17 April 2011 11:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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No need for the oven. Room temp is fine. Sounds like you just didn’t get colonized. Just add some pieces of organic fruit peels. Grapes, apples, oranges, pears whatever you have at hand.

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