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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Breads & Baking / DEMO: How to Make a Sourdough Starter
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    DEMO: How to Make a Sourdough Starter

    Go to page << Previous Page  1, 2, 3 ... 10, 11, 12
    Red Apple Guy
    Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:43 pm
    Forum Host
    Sloe, I yield to Donna. She taught me sourdough techniques. Go with her advice here.
    Donna M.
    Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:39 am
    Forum Host
    So, Red and sloe, let me explain a little better. On an established starter the appearance of hooch on top would indicate that the starter does need to be fed. Red is right about that.

    The difference here is we are not working with an established starter yet. The liquid you are finding on top is probably not hooch but just separation of liquid and solids. It can be a bit deceiving. You could get rid of the separation by adding more flour & less water but that isn't a good idea because a more liquidy starter is more conducive to waking up the yeast. Once it does wake up and get good and bubbly, then I recommend that you feed it more and thicken it up.

    I will bet that your starter will get active within the next couple of days.
    sloe cooker
    Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:51 am Groupie
    Thanks for the explanation of the differences in hooch and separation.
    As murphy's law would have it, I got called into work and had to work 13 hours. Sadly didn't get to feed early yesterday or even at all. I am hoping the starter will be forgiving and be ok.
    Donna, I am having very few bubbles, and the mixture still has a faint aroma of fingernail polish.
    I will give it the treatment you suggested and hope it responds.
    Thanks for all the help!
    Donna M.
    Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:03 pm
    Forum Host
    Happy to help. What kind of flour are you feeding it? If you have switched over to white flour, I'd say give it 50/50 wholegrain/white instead until it livens up. You can also continue to use some juice until you see life. It won't hurt anything and just might help with the smell you are still noticing. You are using dechlorinated water, aren't you? I once had a lady who couldn't get her starter going and I told her to switch over to bottled water. It immediately took off with the new water. Distilled water is not good for bread because it has no minerals in it. You need to use spring water.
    sloe cooker
    Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:03 am Groupie
    I have followed the recipe to the letter, using whole grain wheat flour (purchased from walmart) and canned pineapple juice for the first 3 days. Then using unbleached AP flour and "purified" water with added minerals for taste (?) that was purchased solely for this project, for subsequent days.

    Tonight I measured out 1/4 cup starter and, as you suggested, did half/half ww/unbleached flour and half/half pineapple juice/water.
    About an hour after feeding tonight I have a half dozen or so of BB size bubbles and numerous smaller bubbles.
    My last few feedings have separated after about an hour, no separation tonight so far.

    Appreciate your instructions Donna.
    Donna M.
    Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:27 am
    Forum Host
    Sounds like you are almost there! Wouldn't surprise me if you woke up to a lively pot of bubbles tomorrow. How is the smell? Starting to smell better now?
    sloe cooker
    Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:54 pm Groupie
    Donna, I think my starter woe's lie with my WW flour. I tried the vinegar with feeding, a couple of days ago. The only difference is that I now have less separation and more bubbles. No expansion and the antiseptic type smell STILL remains icon_rolleyes.gif

    I hate to give up....but I feel it is pointless to continue with this batch, its now been 2 weeks growing. Sadly, am unable to locate any health food stores that sell fresh ground WW flour. I did locate one that sells the berries, but they do not grind them up, and I don't own a grain mill.

    So determined to find fresh flour, I can just taste that fresh wonderful buttery and delicious sourdough bread.

    Will report back when I get a new starter going. Thanks for everyone's help!
    Donna M.
    Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:32 pm
    Forum Host
    Don't give up the ship! I hope you didn't throw it out already. Maybe buy some new flour. Get some rye flour this time. You say you have bubbles, so there is something going on. Try putting it in the fridge overnight and then pulling it back out. For some weird reason that sometimes jolts the yeast into activity. Is the consistency still quite liquid? Try thickening it up now. If you have a scale feed it equal weights of flour/water.

    Oh, and you can use the berries whole if you want to. Just strain them out after a few days.
    sloe cooker
    Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:19 am Groupie
    Aye, since you think there is still hope, I have not given up the ship totally.

    Yesterday I stuck it in the fridge for around 8 hours post feeding. This morning I measured out equal parts, yes I do have a digital scale, water and used WW flour (the batch I already had).

    I am interested in doing the WW berries to begin a new starter in addition to the one I have going now. Would you measure out 1/4 cup of berries to start, since they are whole?

    So sorry to be such a problem baker, I envisioned sailing through this process without having to bother anyone. After all, I did read ALL the stickies about sourdough before beginning this new adventure.

    Thanks Donna
    Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:31 am
    Forum Host
    Sourdough has a mind of its own, I've found.

    Do you have a coffee or spice grinder? You can grind the wheat berries in those really easily, just run some rice through it first to clean out the coffee/spices.

    You can also use a food processor although that more chops than grinds, and does not work well with small quantities.

    Don't give up. I've had some funny tragedies with starters, and have revived them from less than a teaspoonful. Rye flour is great to use also, seems to energize the starter.
    sloe cooker
    Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:54 pm Groupie
    Thanks for the encouragement and advice, Duonyte.

    I don't own a grinder of any kind, but I do have a mortar and pestle that I could use!

    I will pick up some rye flour too. Donna had suggested that I do that but haven't bought it yet. On the grocery list it goes.
    sloe cooker
    Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:22 am Groupie
    This morning I had frothy bubbles that had increased the starter in volume by approximately 2/3!! Christmas in September!

    Yesterday morning I fed starter with equal weight WW flour/spring water and fed again that evening with unbleached AP flour/ water also in equal weights.

    I wasn't sure to refrigerate the starter at this point, because it had not actually doubled yet.

    I kept it at room temp. and about 8 hours later the froth had diminished and was almost back to original measure.

    I will feed it tonight and see if it will also be active tomorrow morning. Also the predominate smell that I previously experienced with this starter has diminished considerably. I still do not detect a yeasty aroma at this time.
    Donna M.
    Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:21 am
    Forum Host
    Yay! I knew it wasn't dead!! You don't want to refrigerate it for about another week. This will help it gain strength. When you see it start to fall, that is when you want to feed it, which may be even 3 times a day. If you don't want to throw them away, your discards can be used in pancake batter, quick breads, or in breads that also contain commercial yeast.

    I'm so excited for you! In a few days you will be baking sourdough bread!
    sloe cooker
    Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:57 am Groupie
    I am so stoked to be near being able to use my starter! I did save my discard of the starter that I fed (tonight), to use for pancakes in the morning.

    Your advice and directions as well as other seasoned bakers on
    this forum, have been totally invaluable to me and I thank you all so much!
    Donna M.
    Sat Sep 28, 2013 4:59 pm
    Forum Host
    You are welcome! We love helping newbies get started! You could possibly make a sourdough loaf in a couple of days. Be prepared to let it rise much longer than you are used to with commercial yeast. Being a brand new young starter it may take several hours. After it gains more strength that time will lessen. You can also add a bit of yeast to help it along for the first few loaves if you want to guarantee a loaf that isn't dense.
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