Author Topic: starter directions  (Read 1329 times)

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Offline wheelman

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starter directions
« on: January 11, 2013, 09:34:05 AM »
I'm helping a friend who's new to SD and i came up with a quick list of tips for her.  Please offer additions or revisions if you think they would be helpful.

Hereís how I do it:

1.   Start with about a cup and a half of the starter, stir it well with the Danish wisk,
2.   Add a cup of King Author All Purpose flour and a little less than a cup of water (no chlorine), stir it well with the Danish wisk,
3.   Youíll have about 2-1/2 cups in the jar, leave it out until it grows as far as it will and starts to recede.  You can now put it in the frige for a few days.
4.   To feed, take it out and let it warm up to room temp, dump out half and start over at step 1.

When you feed it it will take about 4-5 hours to grow to max volume. I like to use the starter when itís between double and the max.  if youíre making Tartine bread, you can feed it in the afternoon and make the preferment late, it will be ready in the morning.  If you want to make dough in the morning, feed it late Ė it will be on the way back down in the morning Ė just add a half cup of flour and a small amount of water and in about an hour it will be all fired up again.  Thatís how I use it to make pizza dough. 
I feed mine twice a week.  if you want to leave it out and never refrigerate, just feed it more often.  Some people think thatís better.  it can stand a week or more of no attention.  It will get a layer of liquid on top, just stir that in and then dump and feed. 

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: starter directions
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2013, 10:30:55 AM »
I think there are many ways to skin this cat that all work well. I would say that the most important thing is not the work flow per-se, but rather that you do it the same way every time so that you always use your culture at as close to the same level of activity as possible. Otherwise, it is going to be very tough to get your fermentation schedule to be predictable.

For me, the starter I keep in the fridge is more of a back-up to one I keep on the counter. I feed my refrigerator cultures about every 3-4 months. When I do, I bring them out, get them good and active with a couple feedings (takes a day or so), feed them again, and then let them sit out for only about an hour before going back in the fridge.

The culture I keep on my counter at room temp gets fed every 3-5 days (could probably go 7 without much problem) if I'm not using it, or the day before I'm going to use it. I never pay attention to quantities, I scoop some out and discard, add some water and some flour to get it to a thick batter consistency. I use RO water, but I'm not sure it would really make any difference if you used chlorinated tap water.

I like to use my starter right as the activity peaks.

"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline wheelman

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Re: starter directions
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2013, 10:53:09 PM »
Thanks Craig

Offline onur

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Re: starter directions
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2013, 01:58:57 PM »
Hello wheelman,

Notwithstanding Craig's tap water comment, I just want to let you know that I did witness the death of my starter that I had created from scratch, with a one time negligent tap water feeding induced by my girlfriend. Try to avoid it if you can - Just my recommendation.

Of course, this was Istanbul tap water -  so you can call me lucky that the starter only died, instead of transforming itself to a 3 headed monster.


Offline wheelman

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Re: starter directions
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2013, 06:12:59 PM »
i would not use chlorinated water to feed the starter or make dough, but i do use plain filtered tap water. 

like so many other things that aren't exactly straightforward, my friend will have to figure a lot of this out for herself.  i just hope that a list of basics will give her a headstart. when i started with SD i had some misunderstandings about these basics and through reading and much help here, i was able to standardize that part of baking.  As Craig noted, it's important to follow the same process in order to get predictable results. I've always tried to minimize the number of variables in complex systems - like pizza  :chef: