18 August, 2009
Sourdough Starter, Day Five: Waking Up
Overnight activity has been noticed. In fact, at about 1 a.m., PJ had already doubled and was on the way back down so he got a midnight feed. Come feed time again today, he had once more doubled (where the dashed line is) and gone back down. Wally, on the other hand, has developed small bubbles and expanded just a wee bit. He still stinks although not quite the “OMG YUCK!” strength as before, he’s decidedly unpleasant.
Both were reduced to 1/4c of ‘old’ starter and the excess discarded, jars washed and 1 oz each of UAP flour and water added.
RATIOS: The current feed amount is 1/4 cup starter (~ 60g) + 28g water + 28g flour which is a ratio of approximately 2:1:1 [S:W:F]. It may be wise to change that to at least a 1:1:1 ratio (say 30g+30g+30g) so the starters don’t run through their food too quickly. 90g of starter is still enough to give you 60g of “active starter” when you want to make bread.
Wait, what’s that [S:W:F] thing mean?
“S:W:F” stands for Starter, Water, Flour which indicate what the ingredient ratios refers to.
In our current case, 1:1:1 would not matter much since all three ingredients are the same amount. But when you start changing things up to 1:2:4 it’s important to know what number refers to what. Adding 2 parts flour and 4 parts water will be a LOT different from 2 parts water and 4 parts flour.
So to make sure we all know that the middle number is the water and not the flour, I’ll use [S:W:F] to indicate the order here and there. Why that specific order? Simple: It’s the order the ingredients normally go in the bowl to be mixed. You measure out your starter, add water, stir to blend it, and then finish up by adding the flour. Stir and put back in the jar.
By the way, it doesn’t need to be stirred until totally smooth, it can be a bit lumpy, just get the flour wet. It will even out on it’s own after a while.
We’re getting close… Once Wally begins to expand and has been fed often enough to get rid of remaining stink, we’ll consider this officially “started”. Although we would want to feed them continually and twice daily (am & pm) for about 2 weeks to make sure they’re well established and strong, and to give them a chance to develop their own characteristics and flavour. They may be able to produce gas enough to raise a dough but they’ll need time to evolve.