Cooking With Charl

Amateur home cook, with a love for baking and all things garlic :)

My sourdough starter experiment

on April 19, 2013

Last Sunday I decided to take the plunge and try and nurture a sourdough starter from scratch! After reading alot on the Internet I found out it is best for beginners to start off with an established starter and work from there.
I am rather inpatient though and could not wait to get a starter from elsewhere.

I followed a fantastic guide over at sourdough.com and so far things seem to be going on track to sour doms beginners guide.

I thought I would share my progress so far :).

Day 5

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I fed the starter 50g strong white flour and 50ml filtered water everyday for the first 3 days, then discarded half and refreshed with 100g strong flour and 100ml filtered water for the last 2 days.
I could see activity after day 3 but only very slight, it’s now safe to say something is certainly happening in there!
Next step is to discard most and refresh again, then hopefully it will double in size overnight! (Fingers crossed)

I am a complete novice when it comes to sourdough so if there are any sourdough bakers out there feel free to advise me 🙂

day 7
Doubled in size very quickly (2-3hours) then shrunk back to original size so gave an early feed today as I think he was hungry! 🙂

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my first sourdough loaf

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Little bit of oven spring and good holey texture

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Only problem I seemed to encounter was it losing its shape as soon as I tried to remove it from shaping bowl

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4 responses to “My sourdough starter experiment

  1. Hugo Dufort says:

    When you refresh your starter, make sure you do the following steps in the right order:
    1- stir the starter to deflate it and to mix the “hooch” (brownish liquid at the surface) if any
    2- remove about half of the starter and either use it in a recipe or dump it in the sink
    3- add the same amount of flour and water (by weight), and stir well
    4- if you plan to put it in the fridge, let it stay on the counter for 1 hour so that the bacteria and yeasts activate (if your starter is cold, let it stay in the counter until it reaches room temperature)

    If you don’t remove half of your starter each time you feed it, it will develop very high acidity, which will inhibit the yeasts and lead to very bitter bread that doesn’t rise much.

    If your starter has a strong “chemical” smell (for example if you’ve forgotten it in the fridge for 2 weeks without feeding), use a few discard+feed cycles at room temperature before baking with it. This will help flush the acidity and reach some balance in the micro-organisms.

    Also, don’t let your starter freeze; that would kill most of the micro-organisms in your starter. If you wish to make a “hard” backup of your mature starter, smudge some of the starter on parchment paper and let it dry completely at room temperature. Then break it down into small flakes and put it in the fridge (it will keep for months without any intervention).

    • Charl says:

      thats some fab info hugo, thank you! i have been following steps 1-3 and i do plan on storing my starter in the fridge so your comments were helpful, i will most certainly make a back up 🙂 i was wondering if you had to discard half every time you refresh when kept in the fridge, now i know! 🙂

    • Charl says:

      can i ask how long you think i should keep discarding and feeding before i can bake? i have read 24 hours after the starter is able to double in size after feeding, does this seem correct?

      • Hugo Dufort says:

        Yes, when it’s “back from the fridge” you really need to help your starter build up some strength, while getting rid of the extra sourness caused by the accumulation of lactic acid and acetic acid (as well as other more exotic by-products of bacterial activity). by repeating the discard+feed process for three feed cycles (6 hours cycle at room temp), for instance, the end amount of the initial “super sour” starter from the fridge is at 12.5%.

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