What happened to my starter?


Jus wondering if my starter is still fine or is it dead already? I made one just flour+water+org apple. Nothing happened for three days so I placed it overnigth in the boiler room -  it even tripled in size. I put it back in the room temperature, discarded half of it and feed with fresh flour and water. I have been feeding it every 2-3days since then but no activity at all. It's been over two weeks and decided to try to make a bread anyway  but it was just a flat disaster. Should I keep feeding that starter or make as new one?   I am a very begginer to breadmaking and that was my second sourdoug starter, the first one (just flour and water) did not work either:(

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farinam's picture
farinam 2014 March 5

Hi Joolkis,

Whatever you do don't despair - it won't happen overnight, but it will happen.

If you read and follow SourDom's beginners blogs from this site (link at the top right of the page) you will find very good (in my opinion) instructions and discussion of how to go about getting your starter and making bread.

One of the secrets is to include some wholemeal flour (and rye seems to be better) as the bran seems to carry more of the necessary yeasts etc than white flour and there are also some enzymes that act as a 'tonic' and will enliven a sluggish starter.  This is also why some recipes recommend adding grapes or apple to innoculate the starter with yeasts from the surface of the fruit but I suspect that these are not the best yeasts as they are likely to be brewing type yeasts.  Others also suggest adding pineapple juice to artificailly lower the pH to simulate the presence of the naturally produced acids that limit the species of yeasts and bacteria that can survive in the culture.

So, first off, I would taste your current starter and see if it is sour.  If it is then it is likely that there has been activity to produce the acids to make it sour.  Then I would start feeding it with the rye/wheat flour blend that SourDom recommends as that should give you a good start and get you going quicker..

If it is not sour, then there has been no activity and I would recommend that you are just as well starting from scratch using SourDom's method.  I wouldn't be tempted to add anything else other than the flours and water.  You should start to see activity in up to three days but it can take ten to fourteen days to get a really stable starter going and it might go through some stages of varying activity and producing different odours along the way as different yeasts and bacteria find conditions to their liking or not.  Whatever happens, keep going.

Eventually, the conditions will become right for only those desirable bacteria and yeasts and the culture will become very stable and will resist infection from undesirables to a very high degree.

Good luck with your projects and let us know how you go.


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