storing flour and starter health

Hi Carla,
I’m having trouble with my starter being active enough. It was active at the end of the first week but then seems to have died down somewhat by now — which is at about 3 weeks. I was using AP flour at first which I store on the counter but then began to use the WG (and even the Sprouted a couple of times) that I was keeping stored in the refrigerator. Then went back to the AP but that hasn’t made it come back. Would storing the flour in the refrigerator affect the wild yeast in the flour? And, is it necessary to store the whole grain flour in the fridge if your house is not air conditioned and the temp gets in the upper 70’s or above? Also, I think I read that it’s ok to seal up the jar the starter is in. Does that make any difference – how tightly the starter is sealed? I also have kept it covered by a towel or something to keep the light out and am measuring all the amounts in grams so I’m not sure why it’s not more active. It smells and tastes great otherwise.

2 responses to “storing flour and starter health

  1. First, are you weighing all ingredients with a kitchen scale? If you switch from AP to whole grain or sprouted, you have to add less by weight. If you don’t the starter will be to dry and won’t rise up. It is fine to store the flours in the refrigerator, but you should use warmer water so the starter isn’t cold when you refresh it. Store the starter with a tight fitted lid, that’s correct. You should let the starter sit out at room temperature until it does rise or up to 24 hours max after refreshing. How long do you let it sit out? Do you refrigerate it after or keep refreshing?

  2. Hi. Yes, I’m measuring everything and even measuring the temperature of the water to be sure it’s 100 degrees F. I adjusted for the weight if it was WG or sprouted. I’m not sure what’s going on but just with the last loaf of bread I baked I’m beginning to wonder if it’s the proofing of the bread dough rather than the starter. Maybe I’m letting it rise too long at that stage. I made the ciabatta and the levain looked great (I don’t have a picture of it). The dough felt great when I was turning it etc. but it didn’t rise. I let it rise 5 hours like the instructions said (3-5hrs). And then the extra 90 min. I end up with half size loafs! They’re pretty pitiful looking. But I eat them anyway – they taste great. But it’d be nice to get it to be a normal loaf of bread. I like that I you said I could use double the amount of starter so I will try that If you can think of anything else to try that would be great. Maybe the warmer weather of summer will help! Thanks for the advice.

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