Puttin' on the brakes!

Hi there!

 

Well, I'm brand spankin' new to sourdough baking, but yesterday I baked my first bread, and this morning I baked my second. I'm happy enough with these first attempts. Especially the second loaf was pretty decent for a greenhorn like me!

 

But my starter has gone into overdrive.

 

My first attempt at making a starter was an abject failure. After a feeble false start on the third day it turned into a lifeless - or at least yeast-less - smelly soup, and after a week I had to give up.

 

But the starter I created on my second attempt is everything the first one wasn't. It doubles in about 4 hours, and I end up feeding it twice a day. It's going like the clappers, and there is no indication whatsoever that it could be slowing down. I put some of it in the fridge on day three, and it's day 8 now and even THAT, IN THE FRIDGE, appears to have about tripled in size.

 

My house isn't particularly warm. In fact I suspected that one of the reasons my first starter failed was that my house is a bit cool. But THIS starter doesn't seem to care. It just goes and goes and goes. I make my starter thick and pasty. The lack of water doesn't bother it a bit.

 

Don't get me wrong. I'm delighted. Long may it last. But this is going to cost me a fortune in flour just FEEDING the darned thing.

 

So I am now trying a different tack. Last feeding, instead of throwing half of it out and feeding the other half, I fed the other half as normal, but the half I would have thrown out I put in a second bowl. In this bowl I added half a teaspoon of SALT - hoping that perhaps the salt will slow down this monster yeast that has taken hold of my starter - as well as the usual feed.

 

Obviously I could refrigerate the starter, too. But I want to hold off on that until it's a bit more mature.

 

Any other tips, anyone?

 

Cheers

 

 

Pino

1 comment

Hey Pino! Welcome in the sourdough addiction club, once you start down this path you're never going back :P 

 

Anyway, as for your problem. Its a bit of a luxury problem, really. "My starter is TOO effective" =] it seems as if though some kickass wild yeast found its way into your starter, this happens sometimes and its wonderful when it does. I'm considering making a new starter myself as my current is starting to be very stale to bake with... But onwards to your issue. You observe that your starter easily doubles in size in a mere hours after feeding it. This is nothing unusual for a newly started, highly active starter. Think about it; you put fresh food down to the SUPER active, hungry, room temperature bacteria. Of course it will go crazy :) I have a number of suggestions. 

1) Fridge it. As far as I can tell from your post, a refrigerated sample of your starter triples its volume in 5 days? This is perfectly fine, and it will likely slow down to more manageable levels in time. 

2) Reduce the amount of starter until you feel its comfortably stable. The cultures that grow in 200 ml of starter will also grow in 50 ml of starter, but at a quarter the flour expense. Also, freeze some of the "toss-away" starter. Should you mess up somewhere along the way, with luck, a frozen starter keeps alive and dormant for months. 

3) Honestly, just fridge it now and go into a maintenance routine, only feeding it up high when you bake. If it reliably doubles in volume in 4 hours on the kitchen table, you have yourself a starter! I would not recommend salting it to slow it down... 

Good luck :)