Author Topic: Starter from Ken Forkish book smelling very alcoholic  (Read 119 times)

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Offline cavino

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Starter from Ken Forkish book smelling very alcoholic
« on: July 19, 2016, 08:11:01 PM »
Hi everyone,

I'm very new to making pizza and this is my first time making a levain and using a starter.  I'm using the levain from Ken Forkish's new book The Elements of Pizza and I'm on day 6, on eof the last days of the levain before maintaining it.

When I go to feed the Levain in the afternoon, it has a very very VERY strong nail polish kind of smell.  According to other things I've read, this smell should be only slightly present and there should be a much stronger yeast smell or even a milky smell.

For what it's worth I'm using room temp water and I live in Nevada where the climate is dry and hot.  My A/C is set on 78 degrees, but it seems cooler in here to me.  Maybe closer to 75 or 76 degrees F.  I have been feeding the starter once per day with 100g AP flour and 100g water.  I originally used whole wheat and gradually replaced it with AP white flour as things got groovin'.  There are plenty of bublbles and when I discard and feed, the starter is very goopy and sticky. 

Does anyone know what may be going wrong (if anything)? Am I not feeding often enough?  Too often?  Do I just need to be more patient and give it more time? 

I'll take pictures and post them if it will help.  Let me know, thanks!

-Chris

Online mitchjg

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Re: Starter from Ken Forkish book smelling very alcoholic
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2016, 08:42:07 PM »
If, after feeding and at room temperature, your starter is doubling after something like 4 hours - you are fine.

The smell is alcohol - which is a normal part of the fermentation.  The longer it goes, the more the alcohol accumulates.  The shorter it goes, the less alcohol.

If your starter is rocking and doubling as described, then it is going past its prime at 12 hours and that is the alcohol smell.  You can feed twice as often or, more likely, put it in the fridge until you need to use it.  When you are ready to use it, feed it a couple of times until it is doubling nicely and you are ready to go.
Mitch

“We hate math,” says 4 in 10 – a majority of Americans

Offline cavino

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Re: Starter from Ken Forkish book smelling very alcoholic
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2016, 10:51:59 PM »
Thanks Mitch.  I'll feed more frequently and watch for how quickly it doubles in size.  I'm guessing that you want to use it as soon as it doubles in size?  Correct?

Online mitchjg

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Re: Starter from Ken Forkish book smelling very alcoholic
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2016, 11:04:51 PM »
I usually do but I do not think it matters that much or that you have to be that precise.  If you go a somewhat earlier or later, the starter is still very active and the dough will develop fine.

It is a good thing, however,  to try to be consistent.  That way, your doughs will tend to be more consistent in terms of the number of hours until they are ready.
Mitch

“We hate math,” says 4 in 10 – a majority of Americans