Hello. I’m going to try to make a sourdough starter (my first time!) using the direction from Lionel Vatinet’s “A Passion for Bread.” Question: do I cover the starter in the first days of feeding? The text says to cover after the starter has matured, but it doesn’t say what to do for the first few days.
If I cover it tightly, I assume I won’t develop the natural yeasts in the air. But if I don’t cover, won’t it dry out?
I got a plastic container (+ top) that’s not too deep from the Gelson’s deli. All my glass jars are super tall. Hopefully, the starter takes… and then I can maybe transfer to a glass jar. Will post some updates…
I failed my first two times. Lots of flour wasted. I felt guilty. Then I got lucky. Organic grapes, King Arthur flour, whatever atmospheric conditions were smiling. You will succeed. Then you can make the greatest garlic bread evah!!! It just takes time…and luck…and luck!
Ohmigod, I’m so indecisive that I had just placed the cover on (w/o sealing it) and then had a change of heart and removed it! I’ll prob cover again after I feed it tomorrow b/c I don’t want to open the oven to create a draft… Except I was thinking of trying a dacquiose recipe tonight… Oh, gawd, whatever…
Despite it being rather cold in LA, the starter seems to be doing decently. I’m on Day 5, and it def doubles in volume, it’s got a few bubbles on the surface, and it’s got a faint and pleasant sour smell.
The book doesn’t say what I do after it’s “ready.” I put it in a “permanent” jar and refrigerate it? And then I feed it once a week? Once a month? Never?
Okay, so after browsing around on the web, it appears that, if the starter is bubbly and has doubled in sized btw feedings, it’s ready to go. I had the tiniest film of hooch on the surface of the starter yesterday evening (I know I went WAY too long btw feedings), so I think I’m at least a few days out from it being ready (I want to give it more time to strength, esp w/ the weather now being a little warmer). One blog I read said not to refrigerate for at least the first 30 days (!) to develop the best flavor.
Various blogs also seem to agree that, once refrigerated, you can feed it btw 1x per wk or 1x/mo. Partner and I think we’ll be trying to make bread weekly, so I’ll just feed it then.
I make bread weekly, and do the same. After I pull out what I need from the starter, I’ll toss in a spoonful of flour and stir it into the remainder in the jar before putting back in the fridge. It’s enough to keep it fed until the following week’s baking and ensures you’ll always have enough.
Argh. Okay, so the first started got burned (literally; don’t ask). Second starter started smelling heavily of sweet and fruity but in a really scary way after about 10 days. Read one site that said to dump it. Kept feeding it for a few more days, but the smell got stronger and stronger. Dumped it this morning. Now I’m wondering if I should’ve kept it longer (it was bubbling but not rising). ::sigh:: Round three coming up soon…
I think the problem is that you’re allowing the flour to “mature” before feeding it the first time round. When you leave it sitting for 2 or 3 days, in my experience, it almost invariably gets overtaken by bad bacteria before good yeast start producing. After 24 hours of making the yeast, start the feeding process even if no bubbles appear. The yeast is there. It might take a week days longer to get that sweet smelling yeast, but it’s also a good safeguard against bad bacteria. Don’t bother waiting for it to double in size, just keep feeding it on schedule. Some yeast just doesn’t double in size.
I fed it 24 hrs after creating the starter and then twice a day thereafter.
I think what happened w/ the second batch is that I had placed it in the oven w/ the light on (but oven off otherwise) b/c it’s been so darn cold recently. I think the light runs way too hot and caused there to be too much activity btw feedings (after 2 days in the oven, the consistently was like a thick soup… ).
Lionel Satinet (still). 7gm honey, 70 gm wheat flour, 70 gm 85 deg water to start. Wait 24 hrs, dump all but 70gm and feed w/ 70gm wheat flour and 70 gm water. Then feed on alternating 6-8 hrs/16-18 hr twice a day schedule. The first 4 days use wheat flour then switch to bread flour. I think the directions say that the start should be ready about day 10?
I can get some tiny bubbles forming after the first day of using bread flour. First batch was accidentally baked in the oven (partner didn’t know I had it in there when he pre-heated). Second batch was in the oven w/ only the light on. After a few days, it was VERY runny, very bubbly, and smelled VERY artificially fruity. The temp in the oven even just w/ the light is pretty warm (80 deg?). Tried feeding for a few days (first w/ wheat then bread flour), and the odor only got worse.
With batch 3 (current), I switch over to bread flour either tonight or tomorrow morning.
Okay, this batch seems to be coming along nicely (knock on wood). It’s Day 9, and the start has a sour and slightly fruity smell (not overpowering like it was for batch 2), and the start definitely rises significantly btw feedings. The starter also has nice a foamy appearance. Woo-hoo!