Sourdough starter

for all of you who are now trying to make your own sourdough bread, here is a tip from #2 daughter:




"I’ve been trying grow my own sourdough starter since May 2019 (it started as an annual leave project, when I had two weeks off work, and wasn’t going anywhere), and every single time, it’d be going fine, good growth, then I’d hit about day 4 or 5, and it would go completely flat and lifeless. And I’d think I failed, throw it out, and try again a few days later.


I read different blogs with different instructions. Tried it with plain, wholemeal and rye flour. Tried different feeding ratios, and always around day 4 or 5 it seemed to die.

So I gave up for a little while, thinking growing a sourdough starter was just something I couldn’t do.


Then all this madness happened, and people were trying to make starters, so I tried again and was having the same problem with it 'dying' after 4 days. And it was never mentioned in the instructions on any of the sourdough blogs I read. They all seemed to grow them just fine.


But then, I did some very specific googling, and finally, in a thread on a forum, found out that in some climates, it is not uncommon for starters to appear dead around midway when you’re first trying to grow one. Apparently the initial burst of good bacteria dies out, and then just takes a while to come back. And if that happens, instead of thinking you’re a failure, who will never successfully grow a starter, you wait. Stop the discard/feed cycle, and just stir it a couple of times a day. If it starts to look a bit soupy, stir in a spoon of flour. As long as it smells okay, just wait. Eventually you’ll see some bubbles again. When that happens, start your discard/feed cycle again, and see how it goes.


Mine took seven days to show some bubbles after it initially went flat. In that time, I was stirring it once in the morning, once at night, and twice had to give it a bit of extra flour. The bubbles were just a little scattering across the top, but I took the chance and fed it again, and when I woke up this morning, it had actually grown again after last night’s feed. So, hopefully I am past the 'false death' stage, and will successfully grow this one to maturity."

She also adds that to keep hers warm, she leaves it in the microwave with the door slightly open, so the light stays on to keep it warm, but not open so far that the warmth gets out. (it's autumn here so her kitchen is cold)
So don't be disheartened and give up, just follow what daughter did and maybe you'll soon be enjoying home made sourdough bread.

Comments

  1. Thank you for this post. I haven't made a starter yet but it's on my To Try List. That, and sourdough bread.

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    1. The Happy Whisk; I gave up trying to make bread years ago, I just never got the hang of yeast. Although sourdough doesn't use yeast, I'm still not trying again. With only myself to feed it's cheaper to just buy a loaf once a week.

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  2. PS. All yours posts are showing up again in my feed. Woohoo.

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  3. I have no idea what this is, but congrats on further research to resolve the problem.

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    1. joeh; the starter is the fermenting flour sugar water yeast mixture that is the beginning of bread baking. Of course sourdough bread doesn't use yeast, so I don't remember exactly what the mix is.

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  4. Thank you. I have not (yet) been brave enough to try and make a sourdough starter but should - as I really like the bread

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    1. Elephant's Child; perhaps you'll have success now that you know "dead" may not be "dead" but resting.

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  5. Always good to have tips on things we might or do make - thanks E.

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    1. Margaret D; I won't be needing these tips myself, I don't eat enough bread to be making my own.

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  6. My son Genius has been doing this while he's stuck working from home. He sent me a picture of his first loaf, but I think it was on my phone that died recently. I said it looked pretty good, that I would like some with butter. He said he prefers honey. As far as I know, he's not keeping bees in his apartment in Pittsburgh!

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    1. Val; are you SURE he's not keeping bees in his apartment??

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  7. Sadly Hubby is very, very specific about his bread. It HAS to be from baker Mechau. A 1.5 km walk one way for me.
    Since... 2001? I just call and say my name and they answer, "yep, put it to the side for later, happy day." I sometimes wonder what... if I want something on top, or... something else???
    It´s called "Glattes", maybe that even is Sourdough!
    Sadly, too, the oven is still my enemy, so... Mechau it will be.

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    1. Iris Flavia; the only thing I ask from my bread is that it has some flavour and a decent texture. If you want something else from the baker just tell them as soon as you say your name, and don't forget to tell hubby there is extra when he goes to pick it up. it must be very nice bread to go 1.5km :)

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  8. BIG help! Thanks. I'll give another try!

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  9. Wow! You would think people who are experts would mention this fact. Thank you, if i ever try starter, i will know.

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    1. messymimi; people who are experts never tell you the whole story. That's why I go to this same daughter for Tech help, she tells me step by step and if it doesn't work she goes through again and says "Oh I forgot to tell you...." then I write it out again. She's very patient with me.

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  10. This post brought back fond memories of "friendship bread" when we would share our starter with a friend. Just may have to give it a try from scratch. Thanks for the tips.

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    1. Arkansas Patti; I won't be trying it, I don't bake bread, but if my daughter gets edible bread she will share with me.

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  11. That's exactly what happened to my starter, which I tossed down the garbage disposal. It's probably just as well, as Hubby and I eat very little bread.

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    1. Kathy G; so you won't be trying it again? If it works you can freeze some of the bread or share it with neighbours?

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  12. That was really interesting. It's a live and living thing.

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    1. Andrew; so will you be trying this now that you have so much time on your hands?

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  13. Thank you and your daughter for the handy hint, River.

    However, I admit I'm too lazy to be making bread just for me. I've got enough buried in my freezer.

    Yeah! Yeah! Get of my case! I've already admitted I'm too lazy!!! :)

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