Author Topic: Washing new starter  (Read 1463 times)

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Offline UnConundrum

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Washing new starter
« on: September 12, 2009, 08:35:43 PM »
I decided to try the SourDo Italian starters which arrived on Friday.  I mixed them up as per instructions last night and this morning they were bubbling away.  The hooch was in the middle.  The instructions say this is a sign of contamination and that I should wash it, which I did this morning.  I checked it a few hours ago and the hooch was on the bottom, another bad sign.  I didn't have time to tend to it, so I let it sit.  Checked it just a little bit ago, and now the hooch is towards the top, but there is some "foam" on top.  Do I wait till morning, wash again now, or feed it now?


Offline Matthew

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Re: Washing new starter
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2009, 08:57:54 PM »
Feed it again & proof @ room temperature & see what happens.  You can tell by the smell if it's contaminated.  If you're not sure just taste it & you'll know right away.  I know that the instructions say to proof at 80-85 degrees, but proofing @ room temperature will prevent it from becoming over acidic.

Matt

Offline pacoast

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Re: Washing new starter
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2009, 09:30:19 PM »
Real "hooch" is among other things alcohol from fermentation & can usually be stirred right back in. But this is usually only seen in "neglected" or infrequently used starters that have been in the fridge for quite a while.

If you are seeing a separated layer that is brackish soon after activating the yeast, it sounds like the bacteria are thriving more than the yeast for the moment or some other contamination made it in there & I'd want to "wash" it again, followed by a feeding of flour & water (no fruit juice or sugar). Matthew has a good point that the smell is often off when things are astray. But if you are new to starters this may not be helpful for now.

Washing dilutes the contamination and helps give the home team the advantage to take over. Make sure that each time you feed or wash the starter that you transfer it to a clean container & for the Italian starters about 30 - 32C if you can manage it is ideal. When activating starters, I actually mix boiling water with flour & allow it to cool before incorporating the dry starter. This helps kill any competing yeast that might have already been in the flour. After you've established your starter it only takes clean containers and a temperature around 32C to keep them healthy.

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Offline UnConundrum

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Re: Washing new starter
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2009, 09:32:20 PM »
I've used a local starter for breads for years.... never saw the hooch anywhere but the top, nor did I ever "wash" my starter.  Anyway, I decided to just feed it thinking that I could wash again if that didn't work.  By morning it was beautiful.  I fed it again and placed it in the fridge.  All seems well :)  Thanks for the comments.

Offline pacoast

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Re: Washing new starter
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2009, 11:25:49 PM »
Glad it worked. You usually don't see hooch unless the starter has been inactive for quite a while, usually months.

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