Sourdough Starter 2.0: Sourdough Beginner’s Tale Continues

Discussion in 'Bread' started by J13, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. J13

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    Howdy, all. This is the second in my Sourdough Starter saga (all sagas have book 2, right?). If you’re just joining our story, I attempted a sourdough starter and after some 10 days of measuring and blending ended up with a kind of dry, gluey lump that was not doing anything it was supposed to be doing. :( It was very sad.

    But: “Never surrender! Never give up!” Is the baker’s motto, right? Or maybe “to infinity and beyond?”

    I dumped Starter 1.0 and got right back on the horse with Starter 2.0–and yes, I know, you’re supposed to begin in the morning, but I’m determined to have a sourdough starter by the end of next week. So, in order to get in those almost 7 days, I mixed up the first batch (just rye flour and water) early this evening. This thread will keep everyone updated on its progress.

    Here’s hoping that this time around there will be a happy ending!
     
    J13, Jun 8, 2019
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    Becky Well-Known Member

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    Hope this one goes well! :)
     
    Becky, Jun 10, 2019
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  3. J13

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    Okay, so Day 1-2: starter was very foamy and deflated when stirred. Day 3 it was less foamy and had a slight sulfur smell. Today, Day 4 (morning) it was a runny paste like tahini. But it smelled very sweet and pleasant. I’m hoping this means it’s acting the way it should. It’s certainly thinner and less gluey than the 1.0.
     
    J13, Jun 10, 2019
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    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like it’s coming along fine. Just hang in there. The important thing is consistency.

    I was going to make a new starter when I arrive home, but we have early summer temperatures and I do not have AC :confused:. The house has been in the 80’s so it’s just too hot to do any thing.

    I had to re-schedule my baguette class to August, which really bummed me out. I just bought a transfer peel and I wanted to take to the class to try out. :(
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 10, 2019
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  5. J13

    Becky Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like it's going better this time! Fingers crossed it continues... :)
     
    Becky, Jun 11, 2019
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  6. J13

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    Could you use a dough proofer? I know nothing about them, but, of course, now that I'm investigating sourdough all over the internet, I'm starting to see "dough proofer" everywhere. Does a dough proofer keep whatever is inside at exactly the right temp no matter the outside temp? And would it also help with avoiding starter contamination?
     
    J13, Jun 11, 2019
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  7. J13

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    Sourdough starter moving into Day 6. It's been the consistency of yogurt sauce from evening of Day 4 and smelling a little like toast. This is where I got into trouble the last time, when it stopped doing anything and turned into wallpaper paste. And, well, I'm getting deja vu here. I saw a couple of popped bubbles on the surface this morning, but not much more evidence of activity. Temperature where I am is not too warm, about 75 degrees. And I'm keeping it out on a shady shelf with cheesecloth securely on top. No signs of bacteria or anything. I sure hope it starts to do what it's supposed to do soon....
     
    J13, Jun 12, 2019
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  8. J13

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    May I ask the starter you are using? Types of flour; type of water; amounts/feeding scheduling.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 12, 2019
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  9. J13

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Those small home proofers is really aren’t designed for any long term use. When they first introduced it I looked at one. It’s really not bad but it leaves a lot to be desired.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 12, 2019
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  10. J13

    Leofric Member

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    Sorry I disappeared - had some drama IRL. Do you have pictures of your starter? My starter looks very much like yoghurt in fact so much so my father confused it with yoghurt and was wondering if his yoghurt had gone off (sigh!) If your is sluggish it might need more frequent feedings and/or more flour/water. They can be very weather dependent and depending where you store yours adversely affected by too much heat or being too cold. My starter lives in the fridge 24/7 unless I feed it and really does look like off yoghurt. To get it really active I fed it equal amounts of water and flour for a couple of days and keep it on the side of our kitchen, our climate is generally dry with a few warmish days in the summer. I have never seen a starter go mouldy here and mine has gotten lost in the fridge for weeks. The starter if done properly should smell sort of turpentine (although it should be noted that my sense of smell has been destroyed by horrific allergies over the years.) PS as for the whole cheese cloth covering - it makes me laugh I have made sour dough with some of the best bakers in the world and we were just using regular white plastic food storage containers - 22 quart ones with tight lids - damn things were awful to get starter out of if you are short with short arms.......
     
    Leofric, Jun 13, 2019
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  11. J13

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    Update! I don't want to get too excited (given what happened with Sourdough Starter 1.0) but...drumroll please....

    It doubled in size! (see photo with rubber band showing the level it started out at) And got foamy (see second pic)! And had this delicious sour smell! (FINALLY!) It's Alive! It's Alive!

    For now, at least. I'm cautiously optimistic. And I feel way better than I did this morning when I thought I might have another failure on my hands....

    doubled.jpg foamy.jpg
     
    J13, Jun 13, 2019
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    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Well have a good laugh, J13’s starter looks pretty doggone good to me.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 13, 2019
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  13. J13

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    Flour is King Arthur organic all-purpose (as suggested on Perfect Loaf website) and Arrowhead organic rye (could not find Bob's Red Mill Rye as suggested on Perfect Loaf). 50-50 blend, according to Perfect Loaf recipe. I'm following those directions. Water is filtered...I suspect that not enough hydration might have been the key to the failure of 1.0. There is far more water in this reboot, and that does seem to be making a difference. I'm feeding twice a day, and about to change the percentage of flour-water-paste ratio of 75g paste, 100g flour and 125g water (feedings for the last three days) to 50g starter, 100g flour and 100g water (feedings for the final two days before starter is *supposed* to be mature enough for bread making and refrigeration. Or so says the website.
     
    J13, Jun 13, 2019
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  14. J13

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    :D Congratulations! :D
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 13, 2019
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  15. J13

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    :D Congratulations! :D
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 13, 2019
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  16. J13

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Judging from the photograph it looks successful!!! I think you are well on your way.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 13, 2019
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  17. J13

    Leofric Member

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    J13 your starter looks wonderful! Mine looks like that when she is well fed, and my father hasn't eaten some of her (Yes, he did eat some before he asked whether or not he might have gotten the wrong container.........)
     
    Leofric, Jun 13, 2019
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  18. J13

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    Howdy! And thank you so much for chiming in. I went through a whole thread of excitement, deflation and woe (it was quite a t.v. drama) over my 1.0 starter which, after about Day 7, was clearly not working. Norcal patiently held my hand, and then gently suggested I start over with a more reliable recipe. If those helping me here had been physically with me as I peered at that 1.0 starter, I'm sure they would have been exchanging looks and head shakes behind my back :D Any-hoo, Norcal's advice certainly paid off.
    Happily, I do! I was worried I wouldn't, but things radically changed this evening.
    You are probably right. I'm near the ocean and the weather in my area is about 15 degrees colder than the sunny warm weather nearby. Downright chilly at night and this weather was even cooler with my first attempt at a starter. That might have helped inhibit it, along with too little water. Also, frankly, my ignorance on what it was supposed to be doing or look like. Now that I've seen what *supposed* to happen, I maybe-sorta-might be a little better equip to give the starter what it needs if it gets sluggish.
    I hope to keep my starter in the fridge as well as I'm a weekend baker. Fingers crossed that I get to that point. I want my starter to be one of those that lasts for years.
    Norcal has had experience with from-scratch-starter that got moldy due to the unique environmental circumstances in her area, so that's why I mentioned mold. It's not that I expect my from-scratch-starter to get moldy, but I'm doing this completely new with no idea what contaminates (if any) might be in the air in my area or in my home. I figured it wise to check for mold along with smell and the rest. So far, so good.
    The changing smell of the starter has been interesting. It was only a little unpleasant at the start of day 4 when it smelled a little "sulfur-ish." But this evening I finally got that sour smell everyone talks about. Yay! Very exciting and I liked it.
    There's been a lot of talk about the cheesecloth covering. Most websites seem to favor it for a beginning starter, which this is. The cheesecloth seems to be doing fine for now, but I'll probably keep the starter covered with a regular lid if/when it gets into the refrigerator—so if it gets knocked over, as things sometimes do in the fridge, it won't spill out.

    And I'm glad to hear that white plastic storage works fine for starters, as I have a nice little white plastic quart container I hope to keep my starter in once it goes into the refrigerator.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
    J13, Jun 13, 2019
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  19. J13

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    It's certainly different from 1.0. Even at the beginning that one wasn't nearly so foamy. The texture of half of it is a lot like the head on a mug of beer.
     
    J13, Jun 13, 2019
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  20. J13

    J13 Well-Known Member

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    Morning report: it foamed up again! It's *still* alive! (Victory dance around the computer). Have changed percentages according to recipe. Will see how it is this evening. If this keeps up....sourdough bread, I'm coming for you. :cool:
     
    J13, Jun 13, 2019
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