New starter

Hi Everyone,

I started a new starter yesterday as per the beginners recipe, it has been sitting on top of the fridge for about 16hrs in a jar with the lid on losely, there is some condensation on the inside of the jar is this correct? I have checked the pic on the forum and there doesnt appear to be any condensation on the jar. I put boiling water in the jar and emptied it out before adding the ingreadients to the jar, could the jar have been to warm?

 

Thanks

Malcolm 

19 comments

Hi Mal,

I don't think you have a problem.  Probably a temperature differential between the top and bottom of the jar.  Just keep following the instructions and in a week or so you should be up an running.  It is likely to come and go at different times of day.

Good luck with your projects.

Farinam

Hi everyone

I just added the second days flours and water, the starter has the consistancy of really thick Porrige/oatmeal. does that sound right?

 

Mal

Yes.

Stick with it.

Farinam

Thank you for your help Farinam

He Eveyone

About 1/2 hour from the end of day three for my starter and not much happening, got a bubble in the middle but none through the glass below the surface. I have read the recipe and it says to go by eye rather than the time schedule, should I give it another feed or leave it another day and see what happens? It actually smells real good in a sour sort of way.

 

Mal

Hello Mal,

Nothing happens to an exact schedule.  Stick with the daily regime.  If you're not already, perhaps try adding some rye flour (wholemeal), that seems to be pretty effective in giving things a boost.

Farinam

Hi Farinam

 

I will move onto day 4, empty most out and add the next lot

 

Already using Organic Rye

Thanks 

Mal   

Day five and my starter just sits there and LOL's at me, no action as yet, I even moved it into the room with a North facing window to do some sunbaking today.

On a diffenrt front I have started a  Pane Francese 3 Biga this afternoon for a Saturday Bake, it is sitting on the top of the fridge next to the starter. Maybe they will get together tonight and both LOL at me tomorrow.

My last hobby was way less frustrating than this one LOL. See now I am LOL ing at myself

 

Mal   

Hi Everyone 

 

Baked my Pane Francese this morning and it was sensational, nice dark crust with fluffy white inside with lots of holes, tasted great with my Toamto soup at lunch.

 

My sour dough starter is worrying me, Yesterday (Day 6) it took on a Acetone smell, I feed it and it seemed the smell went away. Just now (Day 7) I checked it and the Acetone smell is back, it is finally starting to get bubbly and frothy and now this. I checked the forum and found some posts on Acetone smelling starters and the advice was to feed more often, so I have feed it now (2.30pm) and I will feed it again tomorrow morning. I also saw where someone suggested to change containers, is this something I should consider if the more food idea doesnt work?

 

By the way I have named my starter FLO after my Mum that passed away when I was 11

 

Mal 

Hi Mal,

In my experience the acetone smell often appears at about this stage in the development of a culture as one of the bugs gains a temporary ascendancy.  It usually goes away of its own accord as the good guys win out in the end.  Not sure whether extra feeding helps or not as I've never used that approach.  But I have never changed the container either (or cleaned it for that matter) so can't really comment on that either.

My inclination would be to carry on as before.  You've done well to get a good loaf from such a young culture and I would suggest it will only get better from here.

Good luck with your projects.

Farinam

HI Farinam I will continue as per the instructions then. Sorry for the confusion I used the Pan Francese # 3 recipe with yeast not my starter. Thanks Mal

Hi Everyone (Farinam)

I'm still feeding my starter and it still has a Acetone smell, on day 9 now, I'm not to worried about the flours and water I am adding because flour and water are cheap.

 

I started another starter today just incase the first one doesn't come back to a nice sour smell.

 

My Question is, I have purchesed some bakers flour from Costco, $10 for 12.5 kilos seemed ok to me, anway can I use this in my starter or are the organic products better, or should I just keep the bakers flour for making the bread dough I add the starter to?

 

Thanks so much for your help

Regards

Malcolm

 

 

Hi Mal,

By and large the flour shouldn't matter uness perhaps if it has been heavily bleached.  What is the protein content?  Is it a really pure white or slightly creamy?  Does it clump if you squeeze it in your hand?

I normally use the Laucke Bread Flour from the supermarket and that is just fine.  Kialla flour also has a good reputation but isn't quite so common in the mainstream.  I can't say whether organic would be better or not but if you are happy to pay the premium then by all means use that.

I assume that you are still following the discard and build phase of development.  Slightly odd that the acetone phase has persisted but perhaps continue for a little longer. 

How is the activity, it terms of gas generation and volume increase otherwise?  If it is good and active another possibility would be to take a small quantity ( a few grams) and do a series of builds at eight hour intervals to get back to around 200g over 24 hours.  Say 2g build to 10g to 50g to 150g to 300g or some similar interval.  The idea here is that the small amount of nasties that you start with don't get a chance to multiply and get outgrown by the good guys.  That's sort of what is supposed to happen in the normal course of events.

Good luck with your projects.

Farinam

Hi Farinam 

Activity is good it has quadtrupled or even more every day for 3 or 4 days now.  I empty it out all bare a small amount and refreshed with flour and water. 24 hours later it has quadtrupled or even a bit more sometimes. I have it in a 5 or so kg coffe jar so I doubt if it is ever going to make it to the top because of the volume the jar can hold. What I throw out is very bubbly and airy. I did make a small mistake on day three where I used tap water rather than the spring water, could that be the problem? 

Today I tried something similar to what you suggest, I emptied everything from the jar other than  a very small amount of starter in the bottom and some scrapings on the sides of the jar, I added 70/30 flour and 100 water and put the lid on and its back on the fridge, I figured I would give the good guys a better than average chance at kicking some bad guy butt. If that doesnt work as I said I have a new starter already started.

The protien in the bakers flour is 12.5g to 100g serve, hopefully that is the answer to what you were asking.

I just checked my starter as I walked past and it has been almost 7 hours since I refreshed it and it smells like nail polish remover it has probably tripled in volume.

I will try a new build as you suggest tomorrow morning, I will take a small amount and clean and sterilise the jar, put the small amount back in the jar and do some quick feeds and see what happens. I guess I have nothing to loose but a bit of flour and water 

 

Thanks for your help

Mal 

Hi Mal,

I use water from the tap all the time.  I would be pretty sure that is not your problem.

The protein content of your flour is excellent and your starter sounds as if it is in robust health other than the smell that is worrying you.

See how things go over the next couple of days and by that time your second try should be starting to get going and maybe you will have better luck with that.

I'm not too sure how serious the acetone smell is as far as using the culture for baking.  I seem to recall reading somewhere that there were no really dangerous substances involved and that the volatiles would be driven off in the baking but I can't remember where and how reliable the source was.  And in any case a good and stable culture shouldn't smell that way.

One way or another you will get there in the end.

Good luck with your projects.

Farinam

Hi Mal,

I thought I would chime in with a bit of chemistry here- are you sure that the lid is loose enough for the bugs to get sufficient oxygen to completely digest the sugars through to carbon dioxide? Acetaldehyde and acetone formation can be signs of incomplete digestion either via missing nutrients or lack of oxygen. Starters do go through a crazy patch where they make byproducts instead of CO2 but I have suspected lack of nutrients to be the cause when it has happened with my starters.

Cheers

Hi Farinam and Boots 

 

Well its round three in the SDWW (Sour Dough World Wreslting) and so far so good, before its 3rd feed it now smell yeasty  and is  bubbly, hopefully tag teaming with the extra flour and water 4 times in 24 hours will work.

Boots. thanks for the advice on the lid, I just went over and took the lid off and now it is just sitting on top of the jar, so that should solve the Oxegen issues. Thank you for chiming in.

A question for you both, the Jar I am using is a large coffee jar, it hold over 2L of water when I sterilised it, with the equivilent of 250g of flour water mix in the jar as the starter, how much would you think it will fill the jar up when it is Active and ready? In the beginners starter blog it says it is ready when it increases to reach the top of the jar. Like I said it is a big jar so what should I look for?

 

Mal 

Hi Mal,

Rather than worrying about how high it will rise, the main requirement is that it gets all aerated and mousse like.

If you put it in a pie dish, for instance, it would not rise much at all because the structure would not be able to support itself and the gas could easily escape when bubbles break.  If you put it in a tall narrow glass with the same volume it could easily climb over the top because the walls of the conatiner provide support and there is less opportunity for gas to escape.

The strength of the structure also depends on the hydration of the mix which also affects the ease of escape.  High hydration, low strength, easy escape.  Low hydration, high strength difficult escape.  The latter is what you achieve in your bread dough.

In the container that you describe, I would be happy if it doubles in volume before collapsing which it will do when it passes its peak activity.

Look forward to your baking reports.

Farinam

Hi Farinam 

It has been doubling / tripling at least which was good other the the Acetone smell, so hopefully by the weekend it should be sour dough day 

 

Thanks again

Mal