Author Topic: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?  (Read 1374 times)

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Offline Totti

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Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« on: March 11, 2014, 05:00:49 PM »
Hi guys,

Finally got my starter shipped from USA so a little nervous to ensure I get this right!

My question is, I have done the initial 24 hour feeding with another due in about 4 hours. When should I start discarding mixture during the feed? I don't want to discard too early and there is plenty of room at this stage in the jar.

Didn't have a dedicated station so I had to keep it as warm as possible, first outside then upstairs in the warmest part of the house. I feed it at midday yesterday, woke up this morning to about half a cm of hooch and a little (but still pleasant) sourish smell. Normal?

Cheers guys

Stefano
« Last Edit: March 11, 2014, 05:09:05 PM by Totti »


Offline anverc

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Re: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2014, 05:07:08 PM »
My question is, I have done the initial 24 hour feeding with another due in about 4 hours. When should I start discarding mixture during the feed? I don't want to discard too early and there is plenty of room at this stage in the jar.

except for your very first activation feeding, you should discard half.  What size jar do you have it in?  You can anticipate the volume will quadruple.  I use 64oz wide mouth Ball jars which overflow with 400g starter (To make things easy instead of "discard half" i instead pour 200g into a clean container and feed that with 100g water/100g flour - discarding what was in the old continer... basically ignore "half" and anticipate how much you "should have".)


the edwood instructions i got in the mail were atrocious - I hope you are weighing instead of trying to achieve "a pancake batter consistency" - this method also allows you to compensate for flour/water content when you're converting your recipes
« Last Edit: March 11, 2014, 05:09:50 PM by anverc »
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Offline nick79brew

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Re: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2014, 05:29:19 PM »
Here are some detailed instructions I am following for my new Ischia starter.  I am on day three today and everything seems to be working according to their instructions.

http://www.culturesforhealth.com/media/docs/Ischia_Sourdough_Instructions.pdf

Offline Totti

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Re: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2014, 05:40:11 PM »
except for your very first activation feeding, you should discard half.  What size jar do you have it in?  You can anticipate the volume will quadruple.  I use 64oz wide mouth Ball jars which overflow with 400g starter (To make things easy instead of "discard half" i instead pour 200g into a clean container and feed that with 100g water/100g flour - discarding what was in the old continer... basically ignore "half" and anticipate how much you "should have".)


the edwood instructions i got in the mail were atrocious - I hope you are weighing instead of trying to achieve "a pancake batter consistency" - this method also allows you to compensate for flour/water content when you're converting your recipes

Yes am definitely weighing, 3/4 cup flour 1 cup water for initial activation. Next feed in a few hours for the first feed after the 24 hour activation will be 1 cup flour to 3/4 cup water if I have read online correctly? I will discard half of my mixture prior to this upcoming feed, is that correct?

Then, once it is active, if I use TXCraig's recipe of 1.3% ischia starter which for me represents about 18 grams, is the process simply
1. Bring starter to room temperature
2. Feed
3. After 2/3 hours it doubles and will be fully active a few hours beyond that.
4. Remove the 18 grams out of the jar and put into the salted water and continue with recipe.

Is that correct?

The only other thing I am worried about is Melbourne water, which has added Fluoride. I will used bottled water for next feed, but i hope its not dead in the water already! (pardon the pun)
« Last Edit: March 11, 2014, 05:53:26 PM by Totti »

Offline Totti

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Re: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2014, 07:54:14 PM »
The other thing I was wondering is why people use equal parts flour to water when the instructions say 1 cup flour to 3/4 cup water?

If not, what is the reasoning? Also, what is your quantity that you are feeding? I have seen people use a 1/3 cup, 3/4 cup, 1 cup etc.

Sorry for the million questions. Just want to get this right :)

Offline anverc

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Re: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2014, 08:23:37 PM »
The other thing I was wondering is why people use equal parts flour to water when the instructions say 1 cup flour to 3/4 cup water?

If not, what is the reasoning? Also, what is your quantity that you are feeding? I have seen people use a 1/3 cup, 3/4 cup, 1 cup etc.

Sorry for the million questions. Just want to get this right :)

It really doesn't make any sense to measure in cups - you'd be better off guessing.  Weigh out different types of flour and you'll get completely different weights.  You can also compress some flour and you end up with way more than you need.

the best thing to do is to figure out what about 1/4 of your container will hold and try to aim for that amount.  You can achieve this by:

  • put the container on your scale and tare it
  • stir up and add your current starter until you get to about 1/8th of the container
  • - for me this weighs about 200g
  • add half the weight in water, mix
  • add the other half of the weight in flour, mix
  • let sit
  • do this until you're doubling in size within 2-3 hours at room temp, then you can use, replace what you use with equal parts flour/water and refrigerate
  • to revive out of fridge, let sit and start feeding - i sometimes let mine sit for as much as 24 hours, but an hour is good enough.

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Offline Totti

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Re: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2014, 09:22:38 PM »
It really doesn't make any sense to measure in cups - you'd be better off guessing.  Weigh out different types of flour and you'll get completely different weights.  You can also compress some flour and you end up with way more than you need.

the best thing to do is to figure out what about 1/4 of your container will hold and try to aim for that amount.  You can achieve this by:

  • put the container on your scale and tare it
  • stir up and add your current starter until you get to about 1/8th of the container
  • - for me this weighs about 200g
  • add half the weight in water, mix
  • add the other half of the weight in flour, mix
  • let sit
  • do this until you're doubling in size within 2-3 hours at room temp, then you can use, replace what you use with equal parts flour/water and refrigerate
  • to revive out of fridge, let sit and start feeding - i sometimes let mine sit for as much as 24 hours, but an hour is good enough.

Thanks buddy. I have just followed your advice. Mine was bang on at 200grams too, So i added to that 100 grams water, 100 grams flour and put the rest in a container in the fridge. Does that sound ok? I stirred hooch back in for this initial feeding. Smelt great! I used room temperature bottled water.

How often are you feeding it at those smalls amounts during activation?
« Last Edit: March 11, 2014, 09:25:01 PM by Totti »

Offline anverc

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Re: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2014, 09:32:48 PM »
Thanks buddy. I have just followed your advice. Mine was bang on at 200grams too, So i added to that 100 grams water, 100 grams flour and put the rest in a container in the fridge.

How often are you feeding it at those smalls amounts during activation?

if you haven't finished fully activating it yet, you should keep it out of the refrigerator (it's ok, you haven't harmed it, just take it out of the fridge).   Keep doing the feeding cycle every 16-24 hours until you notice it doubling in volume in 2-3 hours.  At this point you can use it, store in fridge, etc.  If you use it, replace what you use with equal parts flour and water (so if you take 18g out, add 9g water, 9g flour) and put in the fridge.

how big is your container? is 400g about 1/4 of the full size once you've mixed it all up?

once it's in the fridge, you take it back out when you need it.  If it's only been a couple of days, you probably only need to let it sit out it an hour and feed it once (it should double in 2-3 hours at this point).  If it's been in there a few weeks, you may need to do the feeding cycle several times.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2014, 09:35:08 PM by anverc »
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Online TXCraig1

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Re: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2014, 09:46:04 PM »
Then, once it is active, if I use TXCraig's recipe of 1.3% ischia starter which for me represents about 18 grams, is the process simply
1. Bring starter to room temperature
2. Feed
3. After 2/3 hours it doubles and will be fully active a few hours beyond that.
4. Remove the 18 grams out of the jar and put into the salted water and continue with recipe.

Is that correct?


The most important thing is that you do it the same way every time to get as much consistency as possible.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline Totti

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Re: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2014, 09:54:37 PM »
if you haven't finished fully activating it yet, you should keep it out of the refrigerator (it's ok, you haven't harmed it, just take it out of the fridge).   Keep doing the feeding cycle every 16-24 hours until you notice it doubling in volume in 2-3 hours.  At this point you can use it, store in fridge, etc.  If you use it, replace what you use with equal parts flour and water (so if you take 18g out, add 9g water, 9g flour) and put in the fridge.

how big is your container? is 400g about 1/4 of the full size once you've mixed it all up?

once it's in the fridge, you take it back out when you need it.  If it's only been a couple of days, you probably only need to let it sit out it an hour and feed it once (it should double in 2-3 hours at this point).  If it's been in there a few weeks, you may need to do the feeding cycle several times.

Thank you so much for explaining it so easily! I have attached how it looks after initialisation and feed #1. Once it is active I will get into the habit of feeding it every 2-3 days at night time.



Offline anverc

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Re: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2014, 06:40:05 AM »
Thank you so much for explaining it so easily! I have attached how it looks after initialisation and feed #1. Once it is active I will get into the habit of feeding it every 2-3 days at night time.

Cool! It looks like 400g is probably a little big for that jar, but you'll find out soon enough, if it overflows like crazy, either get a bigger jar or reduce your culture. 300 is probablyfit great, but you'll have less to use

Once it's nice and active, and you go to feed, you may even want to keep and feed both halves so you have a backup.

2-3 days in the fridge is a little much, you can really wait 2 weeks every time and be safe. If you plan on storing at room temp then 2-3 days makes more sense. Maybe keep one at room temp and one in fridge? :)
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Offline Totti

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Re: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2014, 05:29:49 PM »
Cool! It looks like 400g is probably a little big for that jar, but you'll find out soon enough, if it overflows like crazy, either get a bigger jar or reduce your culture. 300 is probablyfit great, but you'll have less to use

Once it's nice and active, and you go to feed, you may even want to keep and feed both halves so you have a backup.

2-3 days in the fridge is a little much, you can really wait 2 weeks every time and be safe. If you plan on storing at room temp then 2-3 days makes more sense. Maybe keep one at room temp and one in fridge? :)

Thanks Anverc!

Well last night it had a sweet smell to it, and looks like the 'partial activation' stage, however this morning this is what it looks like. Am i still on track or is it 'contaminated'? Smell noticeably sour this morning.. Will give it another feed in about 3 hours. I had left the lid slightly ajar as can be seen in the pics.. Hopefully not to any detriment!
« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 05:51:08 PM by Totti »

Offline anverc

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Re: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2014, 06:52:33 PM »
Thanks Anverc!

Well last night it had a sweet smell to it, and looks like the 'partial activation' stage, however this morning this is what it looks like. Am i still on track or is it 'contaminated'? Smell noticeably sour this morning.. Will give it another feed in about 3 hours. I had left the lid slightly ajar as can be seen in the pics.. Hopefully not to any detriment!

That looks really good!  you can clearly see that it doubled at some point.  might as well feed right now, since it's fallen down all the way :)  Leaving the lid ajar is a good thing.
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Offline Totti

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Re: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2014, 10:54:34 PM »
Legend Anverc! See how she goes. Post-it note for line measurement. This was 30 mins after feed.

Also, thanks to the tremendous support I have received for this site I just made my donation. I did it from the front page so most probably it will never show on my account, but nevertheless extremely grateful!

Offline anverc

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Re: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2014, 09:25:43 AM »
You're welcome   :)
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Offline Totti

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Re: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2014, 05:43:23 PM »
I messed up this morning guys :(

Worked out my net weights, 1075grams with container and 400g starter.

Removed 200g, added 100g water, 100g flour, and ended up with 1175 grams at the end and way to soupy texture meaning my water obviously wasn't tared properly with the container i put it in.

So, then panic set in and I added some more starter, more flour and I have ended up with something still a little bit running but similar to pancake batter. I am too scared to keep tinkering so I have just left it. The ratios will definitely be out of whack... I could cry.

The volume is now something like 1225grams. Should I re-order my starter now?  ??? Is it likely to pull through?
« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 06:16:51 PM by Totti »

Offline parallei

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Re: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2014, 07:22:49 PM »
It will be fine.  Just let it be and feed it again after it seems active.  If you don't want the larger quantity you have now, just discard some!  If it seems to thin, just give it a bit more flour.

It is pretty hardy stuff........

Offline anverc

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Re: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2014, 07:10:42 AM »
It will be fine.  Just let it be and feed it again after it seems active.  If you don't want the larger quantity you have now, just discard some!  If it seems to thin, just give it a bit more flour.

It is pretty hardy stuff........

Exactly this. In fact I've had to "wash" my starter before which basically means fill the entire container with water, mix thoroughly and dump most of that out.

If you ever end up with it being "too soupy", don't worry, just add a little flour if you must - over time the 50/50 average will even out. You're using txcraig1's recipe, which is such a small amount of starter that the ratio doesn't even matter much

Something else that is helpful to know is that the longer it sits in the fridge, the soupier it's gonna get as the yeast eat through it. I actually discarded my very first culture when that happened, not knowing any better. But the correct thing to have done would have been to: mix it up, discard half and add 100g flour and 100g water ;P
« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 07:12:28 AM by anverc »
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Offline Totti

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Re: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2014, 12:21:12 AM »
Its been almost a week guys - still nothing. I discarded half and fed both this morning, 3 hours later no movement at all. After 12 it usually rises a little, but surely it shouldnt take this long?

What should I do now? Throw away less starter?

Offline Totti

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Re: Finally got Starter. Discarding during activation?
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2014, 02:03:41 AM »
Ok, so day 9 rolls around.. Still nothing. I threw the heater on before I left the house. Came back a few hours later at 90f! So took it downstairs and dropped it to room temperature around 65f.. Put starters into separate plastic containers while i rinsed the main ones out with boiling water. Put original starters back in and doubled them in weight with food and water.

Back to the desk it goes with more prayers