#11  
Old 09-15-2012, 08:55 PM
WJW WJW is offline
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Location: Camarillo, CA
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Default Re: Starter is flat--talk me off the ledge

Once you get up and going again with one you like you might consider preserving some. As an experiment, I have frozen a sample of mine, kept it in the freezer for six weeks, and then revived it. It took about three days of steady feeding to bring it up to full activity, but at the end of that period it was indistinguishable from my original starter.


I have also spread a sample out on wax paper, dried it for a day, and then folded and frozen. That has been sitting in the freezer for about ten weeks. I haven't tried to revive that yet, but will soon.

It's a pretty easy way to preserve your starter for just such a disaster... you have the added benefit of preserving exactly the starter you like.

Bill
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  #12  
Old 09-16-2012, 07:09 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Mesa, AZ
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Default Re: Starter is flat--talk me off the ledge

The starter is relatively firm after I feed it, but reaches the crepe batter consistency by the next feed cycle. Last night I added less water because I thought the starter might be too wet to rise. It was probably on the wet side of muffin batter. This morning it still hasn't risen, but it has some large bubbles on the top and the starter has a thicker consistency.
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  #13  
Old 09-16-2012, 07:57 PM
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Location: Gilbert, AZ
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Default Re: Starter is flat--talk me off the ledge

I always do mine 50:50 by weight water and flour. After a couple hours on the counter - into the fridge (upper shelf) it goes! I neglect my starter all the time and it comes back.

My suggestion - toss all but about a tablespoon and feed it the mix above. Wait 4 hours until it is frothy and about doubled in size (+/-) then toss it in over night to allow the bacteria to balance out the yeast. Repeat several times and you should be good to go.

If not - let me know and I will get you a transplant of my starter (the 1850's version).

No stress - it is just us dough heads!

Chris
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:59 PM
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Default Re: Starter is flat--talk me off the ledge

Your last post is indicative of over fermenting. If the starter is thin, stringy... too much counter time - need more fridge time after allowing to warm up! Get it to the bubbling phase and cool it down. This will retard the yeast and the bacteria will get into balance. It is a high wire act keeping these cultures moving in the right direction. Check out any of Peter Reinharts discussions on wild yeast breads
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Last edited by C5dad; 09-16-2012 at 08:05 PM.
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  #15  
Old 09-17-2012, 08:20 PM
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Default Re: Starter is flat--talk me off the ledge

The saga continues...

Yesterday I decided to triage the Camaldoli. I have two jars of it going. After a feeding cycle, neither showed any bubbles, had any smell (good or bad), and showed no activity whatsoever. I gave up on one jar and left it on the counter for later disposal (was too lazy yesterday to clean out the jar). I didn't feed it; I left it to starve. I discarded and fed the second jar, and put it in the AC closet. After 12 hours (and more than 5 days into the activation), the second jar showed no signs of life, no bubbles, no smell. So I decided to wash it. I washed the culture in the second jar per instructions, fed it, and put it back in my proofer (Excalibur dehydrator) per instructions along with an Ischia Island culture I started yesterday morning as a backup.

This morning I went to the kitchen to get the feed ready for the Ischia culture, and I happened to look at the abandoned jar. It showed a small bit of growth. I discarded the vast majority of it and fed it a cup of 100% hydration mix. This evening I came home to a nicely grown starter, and it kept growing for the hour between my arrival and the feeding. Two hours later, the neglected jar has puffed up an inch (about 50% rise). I have a guarded, but positive, outlook for the jar.

I just fed the washed culture and I put it back in the AC closet with the Ischia. The washed culture had a great showing of bubbles (though not much rise) and a strong alcohol smell. The beasties are obviously at work. Good sour smell on it, too.

So I think the starter is on the road to recovery. Thanks for all your input.

And I might take you up on the 1850 culture offer, Chris. I've been meaning to get some of that one. Perhaps I can trade you a jar of the stuff I'm working on now so that I'll have a local backup if I kill it off again.
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  #16  
Old 09-18-2012, 09:48 PM
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Default Re: Starter is flat--talk me off the ledge

Not a problem. SD is a funny thing. I had a Russian culture that I constantly fought with to keep it alive and finally tossed it out of frustration - waste of $$. This 1850 culture is virile to say the least. Anytime you want to trade, I will be happy to donate to the cause!

Chris
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