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Is it an active starter? | Sourdough Companion

Is it an active starter?

 Well, hello all!

 

This is my first post here!

 

 I've been searching on this forum for some clues to see if my starter is active enough, and i didn't find something satisfactory. 

My starter doubles its volume in about 4 hours, but there's no froth on top. There are plenty of bubbles. I mention that my starter is 100% hydration.

 

Here is a pic of my starter :

And here is it's top:

 Thank you very much and excuse my English and my photos(made with web-cam).

Alex

12 comments

Looks fine to me.  I wouldn't go by "frothy", which many starters are, but I certainly go by "bubbly" and "doubles in 4 hours".  Looks and sounds like it's ready to go.

 

-John

It's time to put it to work.

And your pics and English are just fine too.

:-)Muff

 Wow... you were fast! This is an really active forum as I see :)

 

Ok, sounds good! Great news for me, I'll post the bread picture when is ready for opinions. 

 

Thank you again!

Alex

Alex

 Well, this is my first loaf, i'm quite satisfied! Not sliced yet, because is for my mother... but... it looks good, I think!

 

Alex

You can see how much vigor that dough had- and now it's time to learn how to channel all that energy.

What you see on top of your bread is a very ragged break. At the end of the loaf there is no break at all. That means the bread at the end of the loaf is compressed, and will have a tighter grain. Even the middle of the loaf hasn't expanded to it's full potential, and so will have a tighter grain than necessary or desireable. (It will all still be good to eat though- just not quite everything it could be.)

Next time you're ready to bake your bread cut a long slash the entire length of the loaf, from tip to tip, just at the last moment before it goes into the oven. Make the slash a slash -not a scratch. Tilt the razor-sharp knife almost to the horizontal, so that it slices across the top more than down into the center. The cut might easily be an inch (2.54 cm) into the dough. That will form a dramatic weak spot in the loaf that will allow the dough to expand easily and evenly. The loaf will reach its full volume that way.

You might also notice that your loaf has a matte, or dull, quality to it. There's nothing wrong with that. A lot of very good bread will have it. But but if you want a shiny surface, which is pretty too, you'll get it when the humidity level of the oven is very high. Lots of mist, a tray of ice cubes in the bottom of the oven when the bread is loaded, and a small oven are helpful. 

Shiny crusts mean that a certain amount of the starch in the flour has converted to sugars (malto-dextrins, if I understand correctly) which color and fuse (like glaze on pottery) better than do unconverted starches. This conversion can only happen in a  narrow temperature range and only if the moisture level is high enough. Not only is the shiny crust attractive, it has a nice tooth and crunch to it too.

Others may offer other views, which is fine. There's more than one good way to do this stuff.

Good luck,

 

Muff

That's a fab looking loaf Alex - your starter was looking great too.

With Muff's excellent suggestions your next loaf will be even better.  I think this one would have been amazing if it had been slashed.  Can't wait to see the next ;o)

K.

Happiness is making bread!

Thank you Karinecoops!

Well, i have to say! This forum is amazing! Prompt replies, best suggestions ever... etc.

 

I must confess that i am using manitoba flour (from hypermarkets) and '00' flour (cheapest ones). Right now, i can't afford something more expensive, because ... because.

So, if someone could give me some hints on using ordinary flour, i kindly accept 'em!

 

Thank you again!

Alex

Well, i need to go for 4-5 days, and i'm a little bit afraid of losing my starters. And i've red that desem(or stiff starter ?!? )  starter is more resistant, but i can't find the recipe. And another question, will the taste be affected? Or the sourness... or anything else?

Thank you again!

Alex

If you're only going away for a few days throw your starter in the fridge and forget about it. When you get back take it out and feed it. It'll be fine. The taste might be affected, for better or for worse- eventually your starter will become what it wants to become in your particular environment, and you might as well learn to live with it!

At least, that's the way I see it.

Have a good trip.

:-)Good luck,

Muff

Thank you Muff!

I'll go than without worries!

P.S.

This is my new LOVE! :P

Alex

Heck, after I broke my knee and couldn't stand long enough to make bread for a couple of months, mine only got fed about monthly and just had to amuse themselves slowly in the fridge!  They're as right as rain!  4-5 days is a piece of cake!

Great looking loaf in your last post Alex!  Once you start making SD you're hooked :o)

K.

Happiness is making bread!

After intensive feedings, i've obtained a starter just delightful (for me and my family, we are not used to sour breads, we do like the milder ones), and now, my starter is perfect! I feed it once a day(75 % hydration), store it at 16-23 deg C, and it triples. I feed it with '00' type flour (50 %) and Manitoba type flour (50 %). But if i make a stiffer starter (say 50% hydration), and i'll keep it somewhere between 10-16 deg C, how often do I need to feed it and if I want to get back that mild aroma, after intensive feedings, it will regain it? Or it will not lose the mild aroma (i've red taht a stiffer starter is more sour than a high hydration one, and also a starter kept at lower temperature is more sour...) at all?.

Just as a precaution I've just dried some.

P.S.

I found a shop, where you buy the grain and they grind it in front of you. I spnt all my money on flours, but my starters (i have one : 30% whole rye 70% white, one whole wheat 100%, and the other 100% white). AAAAhhh... another question! The 100% whole wheat smells very vinegarish, it is ok?

 

Thank you again!

Alex