My First White Starter

 My starter is currently 2 weeks old after today and I'm still unsure on its progress. I have been following the technique from the book Bourke Street Bakery.

The feeding schedule -

Day 1 - 50ml water, 50g flour

Day 2 - 50ml w, 50g f

Day 3 - 100ml w, 100g f

Day 4 - 200ml w, 200g f

Day 5 - Ditch most of it, leaving 100ml. Start again with 50ml water, 50g flour

Then repeat with 100/100, 200/200 and throw it out again. So basically it's increasing the feeding for three days then ditching most of it and starting again. It says to do this for three weeks and then on the forth week increase the feeding (a couple times a day from memory?) before it's ready to be used.

 

Over the last few days its developed an alcoholic, almost glue like smell. It isn't so bad today, more sour then anything. I'm guessing this is to be expected judging from some other forum posts? The book doesn't really mention it.

 

How does it look?

 

Also, I noticed some people are able to build up a starter in a week. Is there any reason why this book would advise such a long wait? Is this just a more sure way?

 

Another question - I just use regular bread flour for this starter but have also bought 1kg of local organic flour. When I go to make my first loaf, I can use this starter with my organic flour right?

3 comments

Ben, Your starter looks great. Don't worry about how long it's taken. That book probably suggests such a long time so that you know you have a really active starter that will have good flavour. A starter that is only a week old probably won't taste great. If you're really keen to bake a loaf, just do it. Bake the loaf with most of your starter and leave a little bit behind to keep feeding. Yes, using your organic flour with your starter will be fine. Andrew

Well that's good news. I'm willing to wait another week or two like the book says. How much is a good amount to leave after baking? 100g?

100g is plenty. You can get away with as little as a teaspoon.

 

Once you have a good active starter, you needn't feed it every day. My rye starter is fed every few days. I only feed it to make enough for the next loaf. If I know I'm not going to be baking for a while, the starter is put in the fridge, otherwise it lives on the bench. I sometimes neglect it to the point where it goes mouldy. I just take a teaspoon of non-mouldy starter and move into a new jar.

 

Andrew