Sprouted Rye Starter - largish volume

Jenna's picture

At day 7 on a rye starter, that was hived off of a bread flour batch.  Noticed this morning that it's beginning to get a lovely dark beer smell, so hoping that is a good thing.  Also, the sprouted organic rye seems to be working like a wonderkin - it's been knocked down and fed 2x a day, close to 100% hydration.  Noting however, that it doesn't have that silky texture that the white starter has developed.   

So here's my quandry.  This is all in prep for making 12 loaves of a Rye bread  for a Russian themed dinner the 13th of Feb.  The recipe I'm currently favoring calls for about 2 cups of starter, which makes 3 small or 2 decent sized loaves.  So at a minimum I would like to have 12 cup equivalent of starter before making dough on the 12th. Current starter on hand by weight is about 1250g.  Been feeding 25-50g rye at a go last couple of days, because it's going to overflow it's current container.  

Is there an advantage to having one large starter versus dividing this into containers for each recipe? 

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farinam's picture
farinam 2016 February 4

Hello Jenna,

I would be thinking in terms of a quick build up to the quantity that you want rather than something that you have crept up upon by small feeds over a long time.  In bakeries, very often it is just the dregs from todays starter that inoculates the fresh flour and water for tomorrow's bake.  But if you don't want to risk that perhaps you could start with (say) 500g and double it twice (to 1000 then 2000) over a 24 to 36 hour period leading up to your bake day.

However, if you want to continue with your current practice, then I don't see any problem with dividing between containers or get a bigger bucket.  Just a bit more fiddling about, is all.

Good luck with your projects.


Jenna's picture
Jenna 2016 February 5

Yes, think that is what I'm going to do.  The good beer smell turned to a mostly rye alcohol smell during the day.  After re-reading the beginner tutorial and 'starter doctor' links, I decided to start over with just 1/3 of the batch I had.  Picture above is the 1/3 batch on the left, 1:1:1 300g.  The growth pitcured above was just over night.  Batch on right is the slow feed, too alcohol smelling  - just so I can get a better idea of what it should and shouldn't look & smell like.  

This morning I took 120g of the batch on the left and did another 1:1:1.  Hoping to make a couple of batches of dough tonight.  One out of the old and another out of the new, just to see the difference in flavor and baking (and timing) so that I won't be in a crunch next week.  I'm used to using predictable dry yeast, and while this is a bit stressfull it's kind of exciting too.

I'm completely open to suggestions for Rye Bread recipes too.

Always, Jenna

farinam's picture
farinam 2016 February 5

Hi Jenna,

The one on the left certainly seems to be jumping out of its skin.  It certainly is a good idea to have some trial runs before you get to the big bake or you could have quite a disaster on your hands.

Not sure whether you are familiar with baking with rye dough but it does handle and behave rather differently to wheat flour based dough.  If you do have a rye recipe that you make with the dry yeast, it is possible to convert it to starter based by replacing the yeast with starter and adjusting the flour and water in the recipe to allow for the content of the starter.  A fairly common percentage of starter (to new flour) is 35-40% (175-200g per 500g flour).  The timing of the schedule will be significantly different though.

There are some rye bread recipes here if you scroll through the recipes section.  Here is a link to one.


Good luck with your projects.


Jenna's picture
Jenna 2016 February 6

Thanks for the link.  Didn't get to make a batch of dough - got a cruddy cold from my pals at work. Wiped me out, but have managed to keep up with the starter.  Did put a cup of the rye in the fridge when it was at it's peak this morning, and plan to maintain one on the counter too.

Always, Jenna  

Anonymous 2016 February 9

These were done one at a time, so final proof times varied.  Good oven spring on all of them, even the one that seemed over-proofed, but not sure they were baked long enough. First one didn't reach 200 degrees internal, the other three did, but were still sticky.  Lovely color on the first two, but the last two seemed over done on the outside.  Regardless, they all tasted great.

Always, Jenna  

Jenna's picture
Jenna 2016 February 16

Thank you so much for your help!  The event was a success.  The bread was only a small part of a wonderful meal, but it was well received.  There wasn't enough to take home for leftovers. Went with a recipe off of Breadtopia, minus citrus (had someone with allergies). It called for significantly less starter, 1/3 cup.  So I kept the starter smallish, which worked better, baking in batches of 3 at a time, 660-690 grams each - which was a doubling of the recipe.  The one I was happiest with was the pull apart rolls I did for our 'high' table, it had the best rise out of all of the bread made.  Need to practice more with the loaf proofing baskets to gage a better rise for the rest.  

Much appreciation,  Always, Jenna

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