Starter Test - I added more pics

I have four separate starters that I bake with. Last night I fed each one at about 150% hydration. Today I added 8 oz water, 8 oz bread flour and 4 oz each different starter to a wide mouth quart jar.

Here they are at the start:

[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest1.jpg[/img]

One hour later:

[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest2.jpg[/img]

Two hous later:

[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest2a.jpg[/img]

Three hours later:

[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest3.jpg[/img]

At 3.5 hours the Alaska starter reached the top(doubled):

[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest3.5.jpg[/img]

Four hours later the Alaska starter peaked:

[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest4.jpg[/img]

Five hours later :

[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest5.jpg[/img]

Still at five hours a view from the top:

[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest5b.jpg[/img]

Six hours later:

[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest6.jpg[/img]

Six hours a view from the top:
At 6.5 hours the NW starter reached the top and peaked.
[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest6b.jpg[/img]

Seven hours later:
Aussie Starter peaked and almost reached the top.
Alaska Starter is starting to rise again.
[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest7c.jpg[/img]

Eight hours later:
The three starters to the right have peaked and fallen the Barley starter
has not yet peaked and is taking a long time to reach the top.
[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest9.jpg[/img]

8.5 hours later:
The NW starter is rising again.
[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest9b.jpg[/img]

8.5 hours still, a view from the top:

[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest9c.jpg[/img]

Nine hours later:

NW over the top, Aussie rising again,Barley starter still rising very slow.
[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest9d.jpg[/img]

Ten hours later:

[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest9e.jpg[/img]

10.5 hours later:

[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest10c.jpg[/img]

The Barley starter is still rising slowly and has not yet peaked.
The Alaska starter was at the three hour level.
The Aussie starter is almost at the seven hour level.
The NW starter is blowing huge bubbles and starting to deflate.

I took a couple more pictures before going to bed and then again this morning:

11 hours later:

[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest11.jpg[/img]

12 hours later:

[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest12.jpg[/img]

The next morning:

[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest12b.jpg[/img]

Last Picture:
[img]http://www.restorides.com/~mom/bread/startertest13.jpg[/img]

This morning the Aussie starter looks ready to go with froth and bubbles.
It is sitting at about the 4 hour mark.
The NW starter is also frothy and bubbly and is almost to the three hour mark, but lost so much over the side, who knows where it would be.
Tha Alaska starter is only a little frothy, not too bubbly, looks spent and is at around the 1 hour mark.
My dumb barley starter is at about the 3 hour mark, and looks quite bubbly.

Thats all folks, it was fun. I was thinking it would be interesting to do a photo diary about a starter with salt included, one with sugar, and one plain to observe the affect on the starter by sugar and salt during rising.
Have a wonderful day,
Teresa

14 comments

Hello Graham,
It is just starting to warm up to 80 F degrees outside during the day here. Bill44 and I have noticed over the last month or so, as your temps became cooler and my temps became warmer, that the starters are behaving differently. They have been proofing faster for one thing. I have to start my oven first thing in the morning and bake quickly, to keep my dough from overproofing from the refrigerator. I used to have to wait for one to three hours. We both wondered if it might also be because we are both baking furiously and using the starter almost on a daily basis. Anyway, starters do seem to be unpredictable. Have a great day,
Teresa

[quote]
I keep it at the warmest spot in my kitchen, around 29 C.
[/quote]

I realise now that that statement was by TeckPoh, not by Northwestsourdough.

[quote]
Hi Graham, Thankyou for your kind words. Curious, how can you tell by looking, what the temperature is? It must have been around 70 F degrees because it was a comfortable room temp that day.
[/quote] (Teresa / Northwestsourdough)

The relatively short peaking times (eg 4 hours) made it easy for me to think that temperatures were 25 C or higher. 70 F is equal to approx 21 C, which is lower than I expected. However over the last 14 days I have found that my expectations were rarely accurate in terms of (new) starter behaviour.

Graham

[quote]
Hi Teresa

This is a fantastic documentation of starter at different stages. I notice that these starters are brewing at around 29C. This is an optimum yeast temperature, and from my own recent experience I am thinking that it is fine for established starters. Though perhaps new (0-7 days) starters benefit from a cooler beginning (?). What is your experience?Graham
[/quote]

Hi Graham, Thankyou for your kind words. Curious, how can you tell by looking, what the temperature is? It must have been around 70 F degrees because it was a comfortable room temp that day. As far as my experience, I started NW Starter last Summer, it was warm but not hot as I live right on the coast and it rarely gets "hot" (above 90 F). I started my barley starter when it was cool around 45 F. I am not certain that the yeasts come from the flour, but might sometimes encouraged by the flour, or attracted to the flour. Or may live on the grain which is still an argument that there are yeasts in the air attracted to grains. Anyway, I would say yeast are more prolific at moderate temperatures, not too hot or too cold. I think they are still available but not as abundant. I wish we could get a microbiologist to study this for all of us. [/quote]
[quote]
It is amazing that there is at least a 4 hour difference in the time that different varieties of starters/culture peak in your example.
[/quote]
I guess that might be adding to the proof that the yeast do not always come from the flour. I feed them all the same flour.[/quote]
[quote]
If it is OK with you, I would like to give CultureCam a rest and direct people interested in starters to your documentation. My own starter is still in its early stages and not doing nearly as well as yours. I suspect the halogen lights could be an inhibiting factor, but more tests need to be done to prove this or otherwise. Great work,Graham
[/quote] You just have too many people staring at it and it is shy! I still think your idea of putting a pot outside and waiting for some activity before even feeding it is a good idea. Yes you are welcomed to reference this experiment all you want. I also have it here: [url]http://www.northwestsourdough.com/starterexperiment.html[/url]
Teresa

Hi Teresa

This is a fantastic documentation of starter at different stages. I notice that these starters are brewing at around 29C. This is an optimum yeast temperature, and from my own recent experience I am thinking that it is fine for established starters. Though perhaps new (0-7 days) starters benefit from a cooler beginning (?). What is your experience?

It is amazing that there is at least a 4 hour difference in the time that different varieties of starters/culture peak in your example.

If it is OK with you, I would like to give CultureCam a rest and direct people interested in starters to your documentation. My own starter is still in its early stages and not doing nearly as well as yours. I suspect the halogen lights could be an inhibiting factor, but more tests need to be done to prove this or otherwise.

Great work.
Graham

Further notes on the Alaska starter. Teresa sent me some dried Alaska an it arrived yesterday. At 4.30PM I mixed the dried flakes with 125g water and 75g flour and when I got up at 6AM it was fully active.
From a dried starter to fully active in something less than 13 1/2 hours, now that's quick!

Hi Teresa,

I know you use your starter at 5-6 hours at 150-160% hydration but with this lower hydration, in your test, it's still going strong at 10-12 hours so I'm wondering if more time would be any better. I really don't have a clue I'm just wondering.

Gary

[quote="Bill44"]
Brag Time.
That's my starter representing Australia.

Laughing

Laughing

Laughing

[/quote]

And a fine starter it is!!!

Teresa

Very neat test Teresa. My question is at what point during the rise fall cycle is it best to use the starter for making bread.

Gary

[quote="gt"]
Very neat test Teresa. My question is at what point during the rise fall cycle is it best to use the starter for making bread.

Gary
[/quote]

Hi Gary, I usually time my bread between the 4 - 6 hour window. But that is tricky because lots of things can change the actual timing, like temperature, last feeding of starter, whether you are using a sponge, if you use some sweetener in the dough, how much salt, whether you are using a whole grain etc. So, feeling and watching the dough is still the best experience for getting the bread into the oven at the right time. At least that is what I do.
Teresa

Brag Time.
That's my starter representing Australia.

Laughing

Laughing

Laughing

Thanks, Teresa....most interesting series of pix. Do you think if the jars were bigger, we would see even more volume? When refreshed from the fridge, mine is usually slow for 5 hours, then it spurts to 3 times its volume (or more) by the 8th hour. There were times it crawled out...so, now, I make sure I leave plenty of room for it to huff and puff. I keep it at the warmest spot in my kitchen, around 29 C.


Dear Teresa,

That's a really fascinating series of pix. I sometimes think home bakers don't experiment and record often enough. I agree that fastest doesn't necessarily mean best.

What grabbed my interest though was the dumb barley starter. Food scientists at our local university have asked me to experiment with barley recipes. They are testing grains that aren't normally grown in this bit of North Wales and looking for potential products and markets. They are particularly interested in naked barley (dumb barley doesn't grow so well here) so I was just about to try out a barley starter, never having previously heard of anyone who was using one.

So, I'd be very interested in any observations you may have, love to hear what you use your starter for, recipes, etc.

Best wishes,

Mick

Well, I didn't bet on any one. I don't really think fastest is best when it comes to sourdough starter. I think there are a lot more variables than fast. The Alaskan starter was fast, but doesn't have the flavor or texture of the other starters. I think a long starter that can sustain can be a better starter for biga doughs and super fermented doughs. A fast starter can be great for pancakes. waffles and the kinds of breads that Alaska sourdough is famous for. The Aussie starter has such a wonderful flavor and had a 7 hour rise with a comeback. That is certainly a plus. Overall, I don't know what I was looking for, just comparing performance. I know now that when I want to make some sourdough "quick" kinds of breads, I will definately use the Alaskan. For fine tasting breads it will be Aussie, and for that tangy sour I still haven't beat NW. What really surprised me was the comback after peaking. The starters still have not fallen but are trying to sustain. The dumb Barley starter is still rising. Talk about slow.
I just have curiosity.
Teresa

So Teresa, which one did you have a bet on?

Laughing