Author Topic: Washing a starter  (Read 1448 times)

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Offline Schmid65

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Washing a starter
« on: April 13, 2009, 02:53:58 PM »
I recently purchased the two Italian Cultures.

I have had my starter for about a week now. I activated it per the instructions from the booklet. Initially it started to smell really bad, there was a layer of "hooch" in the middle so I assumed it was contaminated. What I did was I mixed the hooch into the starter, threw about 75% of the culture away, and transfered the remaining culture to a new container.

Is this the wash process? The instructions were rather confusing about exactly what a wash is. It seemed like I was supposed to put water through the remaining 25% of the culture? Would it be possible for somebody to explain a more detailed process?

Anyways after doing that 3 times the starter is smelling really good, getting very bubbly and looking very well. It looks what I did worked but I was wondering if I could improve my technique.


Offline scpizza

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Re: Washing a starter
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2009, 04:24:40 PM »
You are supposed to add around 4 parts water to 1 part starter to dilute it out and thus "wash" it before adding in flour.

Personally, I've never recognized a fundamental difference between "washing" and "feeding."  In both cases you add water and flour to a fraction of the original starter to end up with a new starter of the same hydration.

Based on how the terms are thrown around, it would seem that if the fraction of original starter is high, like 50%, you have "fed" it and if the fraction is low, like 25%, you have "washed" it.


Offline Matthew

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Re: Washing a starter
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2009, 05:14:30 PM »
I recently purchased the two Italian Cultures.

I have had my starter for about a week now. I activated it per the instructions from the booklet. Initially it started to smell really bad, there was a layer of "hooch" in the middle so I assumed it was contaminated. What I did was I mixed the hooch into the starter, threw about 75% of the culture away, and transfered the remaining culture to a new container.

Is this the wash process? The instructions were rather confusing about exactly what a wash is. It seemed like I was supposed to put water through the remaining 25% of the culture? Would it be possible for somebody to explain a more detailed process?

Anyways after doing that 3 times the starter is smelling really good, getting very bubbly and looking very well. It looks what I did worked but I was wondering if I could improve my technique.
The washing process is as follows:

-Mix the existing culture
-Dump out everything except a cup
-fill the jar with warm water & stir vigorously
-Dump everything except 1 cup
-Feed 1 cup flour & 3/4 water proof

This is the easy part, the more difficult part is the proofing.  If you do what's recommended by Ed, (proofing @ 85 degrees for 6-12 hours) you run the risk of over-acidifying your culture & then you'll have to repeat the process all over again.  IMO, you're better off proofing at room temperature (70-72degrees).

Hope this helps,
Matt