I have some starter that I have had for several years. I usually feed it once a month to keep it fresh if I don't use it. Lately it seems to have become quite weak. I usually mix the starter with flour the night before I bake and now in the morning the rise is not as strong. It used to pop right up by morning but now it seems to not rise as high. What is the best way to refresh starter?
This is just a possibility but wholemeal rye flour is often reported to be a 'tonic' for tired cultures. I gather that there is some sort of an enzyme in rye that favours yeasts and bacteria and wholemeal is more likely to carry the wild yeasts and so forth that you are looking for to populate your culture.
I routinely use about 20% wholemeal rye flour in my feeding regime and it has never missed a beat even after being left in the fridge for a month without a feed.
Another suggestion would be just to feed more frequently for a while and see if that perks it up.
Good luck with your projects.
I bake every couple of days, but occasionally my leaven gets a bit sluggish. I keep it in the fridge, feed it after I make my mix and put it directly back in the fridge. Whe it gets sluggish/slow/weak, after feeding I leave it on the bench where its a tad warmer, and throw in a few organic raisins- 3 or 4. By afternoon its pretty active again :) I tip and feed again, leaving the raisins in there, put it back in the fridge and use as normal. Just remember to fish the raisins out when you make your dough, the yeasts actually eat them!
Hope that helps, Amber
When I have left my starters in the fridge for several weeks without feeding, I usually feed at least twice or three times before using them or placing back in the fridge. This seems to perk them up.
I do notice that my rye starter seems a lot more active than my white starter. For a while I had a whole wheat starter too. It was more active than the white as well.