Bubbles but no rise?

maxm

Hi!

 

I'm a beginner, trying to make my first sourdough starter. I did it by using 50% rye wholemeal, 50% unbleached wheat flour, at 100% hydration. After 24 hours it was sprinkled with bubbles, and I started feeding it once every 12 hours, using 1:2:2 starter:water:wheat flour.

 

It continued bubbling, but there is absolutely NO rise! It smells somewhat like sweet corn, and can be a little overwhelming. It doesn't really smell badly though. I am at day 6 or so, and I've tried making my starter a little thicker (about 90% hydration), and I can see bubbles forming throughout it, but there is NO rise at all. I tried making a dough at 60% hydration with a little of the waste-starter, but there was no rise after 24 hours. My house is at about 23-24 degree C.

 

Any ideas as to what is wrong? :( wrong bugs?

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navylark 2011 December 19

[quote=maxm]

Hi!

 

I'm a beginner, trying to make my first sourdough starter. I did it by using 50% rye wholemeal, 50% unbleached wheat flour, at 100% hydration. After 24 hours it was sprinkled with bubbles, and I started feeding it once every 12 hours, using 1:2:2 starter:water:wheat flour.

 

It continued bubbling, but there is absolutely NO rise! It smells somewhat like sweet corn, and can be a little overwhelming. It doesn't really smell badly though. I am at day 6 or so, and I've tried making my starter a little thicker (about 90% hydration), and I can see bubbles forming throughout it, but there is NO rise at all. I tried making a dough at 60% hydration with a little of the waste-starter, but there was no rise after 24 hours. My house is at about 23-24 degree C.

 

Any ideas as to what is wrong? :( wrong bugs?

[/quote]

 

Hi I have just found sourdough baking and started my first culture about 4 weeks ago.  It took me 2 attempts, I ditched the first lot because it turned out a little like yours.

 

I used this websites recipe:

http://www.sourdoughhome.com/startingastarter.html

and it worked perfectly, I now need to feed it every 8 hours to keep it going and I will put it in the fridge for long storage soon.

 

Let me know how you get on.

 

Nick

 

Incidently, I have used this new starter to bake 4 loafs and works really well, I have tried to attach a picture but not sure it has worked

 

maxm 2011 December 20

Congratulations on a working starter, I guess as soon as I have one working I will be wondering what I was so stressed out about!

 

If it doesn't work by christmas I'll start another one, but even if I start now and the second one is perfect it won't be ready for christmas.. So I'll cross my fingers!

 

I'll be sure to follow those instructions if I start over, thanks. :)

farinam's picture
farinam 2011 December 19

Hello maxm,

I don't think you can go wrong following SourDom's beginners guide.

Conventional wisdom seems to favour keeping some rye flour in your feeding regime (particularly in the early stages of development) though it is not absolutely necessary.  I certainly do on a routine basis and if I want a 'whiter' loaf I do a special build from my stock to create my loaf starter.

If you have bubble formation you certainly have activity going on and I wouldn't get my knickers in a knot about no 'rise'.  If, when you scoop out some of your batter it is 'holey' through the mass then things are hunky-dory.

I am not sure what sort of container you are using but a taller narrower jug/bottle might help to show the 'rise' better.

You also could have a very active system and the rise and collapse occurs in a shorter time than you are observing.  So perhaps you might watch what is happening over a shorter time span to see if this is the case as well.

Hang in there, some of us have taken a month or more to 'crack' it and I don't think you have to go chasing 'magic' recipes to get there.  The KISS principle and persistence will win out in the end.

Let us know how you go.

Farinam

maxm 2011 December 20

Hey, thanks for the support. I've fed my starter continuously every 6 hours with 50 grams water and 50 grams flour, and it seemed to really appreciate that I didn't throw anything out. When night hits I'll throw out half and feed it 100/100, and then I'll see how it is tomorrow! Theres definately bubbles, and it smells kind of pleasant (more so now than before). I think you are right in that I just have to persevere, and keep feeding it even though it is less active than it was at the start (less bubbles, but bigger). Well, I'll keep you updated in case it might help someone else on the same track!

maxm 2011 December 20

Wow, finally! My substitute son has finally proven himself! I'm so proud.

 

During the night my starter raised to a little more than double its size. I think what I did wrong was that I never actually let it grow by itself, every 12 hours I was there, discarding 80% while feeding it. When I just started to feed it more, and more instead (letting it grow) activity finally peaked! So this is my tip to anyone out there that sees this, don't care about tips saying to feed it 1:2:2 stater:water:flour or whatever, just continually feed it like I said in my last post! And lastly, keep at it :)

 

Of course, I have yet to bake with it and it's yet to rise twice, but it's a huge step forward and morale is soaring!

 

Thanks guys :)

Chaz 2020 November 26

I know I'm 9 years late to this comment and I don't even know if you're still using this account, but I have to say THANK YOU for your suggestion to feed it 50g flour and 50g water without discarding any of the starter. After an initial rise on the second day, my starter completely deflated and there was little to no activity in my sourdough for a week. Just like you, I had lots of bubbles but no rise whatsoever. 
 

I tried everything I read on the internet. Switched fully to rye flour. Fed it 3x a day. Moved it to a warmer place in the house. Switched containers. Stirred it. Starved it. I was so frustrated!! Finally I left it alone for 2 days and then fed it 40g bread flour + 10g rye flour and 50g water without removing any of the starter. It's finally rising!!! I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

 

To anyone who's stumbled across this because they're super frustrated by their non-rising starter, have hope!! Try this and see if it works.

NameIsVeronica 2020 December 2

I bet that worke -- I had that same problem, and found the same solution, 10% of my starters are rye (more if it looks sluggish)!  I've been regularly adding 10 g of flour to each bread batch too -- I get the white rye variety because don't like bitter dark rye; it works for both whole wheat and white bread flour.  

My biggest mistakes so far are WAY overcooking a loaf, took a hammer to it!  Well, that and accidentally ordering 50 pounds of whole wheat instead of 5-5lb bags.  Had to go buy a bin.

Robin Zimmerman 2020 December 7

My starter has done the same thing.  It was rising a little and now much less.  I have put rye flour in it to see if it would help and it hasn't.   Not sure what I should do.  all the videos I see make it look so easy.   

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