Sourdough Newbie… Help!
Posted: 30 March 2012 07:46 PM   [ Ignore ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  8
Joined  2012-03-30

I am so frustrated.  I’ll try to give all details.  I went to San Francisco and while I was there, I got a dried starter.  Got home (Calgary, Canada), and activated the starter as per the instructions from the bakery.  It looked great (liquid starter).  I fed it at room temp for 5 days and it was going bonkers, doubling its little self in 8 hours consistently.  So I have the bread bible and decided to make the basic sourdough.  I converted the starter to a stiff starter and quadrupled the starter with 2 feedings as per the recipe. I then refrigerated ‘till the next morning.  The starter was out of the refrigerator for about 4 hours the next morning before I actually started making the bread.  I did the first and second stretch and fold and then put the dough on the counter in a covered bowl to rise for the 4-5 hours. My house is kept at 70 degrees. I left and when I came back 4 hours later… nothing. Flat like a pancake and smelly.  I can’t explain it.  I had an active starter, I weighed my ingredients and my dough passed the window pane test.  Could it be that the 4 hours on the counter ruined the starter?  Please help!  Should I throw away the starter?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 March 2012 07:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  8
Joined  2012-03-30

One other thing… I used Robin Hood Best for Bread flour (Canadian).

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 March 2012 10:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1360
Joined  2008-09-27

I wouldn’t throw away the starter.  Just restart the feedings from a small quantity.

The odor suggests that you might have overfermented the dough or starter at some point.  Hard to say where.  Possibly after quadrupling and then refrigerating, where it would continue to ferment until the temperature of the dough dropped enough.  I’m not sure I ever let my firm starters quadruple.

Also, you might have killed the yeast with water that was too hot.  The sour odor comes from the bacteria, which might have survived.

 Signature 

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

—Hans Reichenbach

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 March 2012 12:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  8
Joined  2012-03-30

Thanks so much for the reply!  I quadrupled the starter as per the Bread Bible’s instructions.  I think you may be right though, my oven gets pretty warm with the light on and the starter rose really quickly in there after the second expansion feeding.  Also, my husband though he was doing me a favor by taking the starter fro the bread out of the refrigerator at 5am before he left for work and it was on the counter for 4 hours before I actually made bread . I’ll restart the feedings and hopefully little “Krusty” will come back to life and I can make a nice loaf of bread.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 April 2012 08:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  1
Joined  2010-04-16

You can also check out the 52 Loaves website. There is a recipe for a easy-to-make sourdough starter, with photos and a video. One thing that most people don’t tell you is that it’s important to incorporate plenty of air into the first few days of making a starter, as you are encouraging aerobic respiration (=reproduction) vs. anaerobic (=fermentation) when building a starter. There is more about this kind of interesting process, for those interested in the science, in “52 Loaves”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 April 2012 02:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  632
Joined  2008-01-24

I hope you didn’t throw out your dough. You can always work in some commercial yeast with some kneading to rescue a dough that doesn’t go off.

 Signature 

“This pizza is a symphony of flavors”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 April 2012 03:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  8
Joined  2012-03-30

Thanks so much for the tips ya’ll!  I did NOT throw out the starter, I had saved some before the bread baking dissaster and took it out of the fridge.  It did revive nicely.  I’m going to build it up again for another week just to be sure and then will make some bread.  Fingers and toes crossed that it will work out this time.

Profile
 
 
   
  Back to top