Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Food and drink  
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 19.10.2019, 11:56
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Zurich
Posts: 11
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 4 Times in 2 Posts
refrigerator has no particular reputation at present
Sourdough starter not starting?

Any sourdough bakers here?

I'm struggling to get a sourdough starter going in Zurich and I'm not sure why. I have made a lot of starters and sourdough in other countries so I'm pretty confident in the process (I'm using 1:1:1 ratio when feeding — 1 part starter, 1 part water, 1 part flour) but even after 10 days or so after beginning, feeding twice a day for the past 4 or 5 days, the starter is still only mildly bubbly. I tried to bake with it but it had nowhere close to the necessary lifting power.

I primarily fed it with Terrasuisse white flour (https://produkte.migros.ch/terrasuis...l-104611000000) but switched to the "half white" (https://produkte.migros.ch/terrasuisse-halbweiss-mehl) a few days back to try getting some additional germ etc in there. My kitchen is around 20C, which is a temperature that has worked fine in the past.

Is there anything particular about Swiss flour? Preservatives? Something else? The flour is the only component that is significantly different to previous tries (unless there's something weird about the water, but that seems unlikely) so that seems one place to start troubleshooting.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 19.10.2019, 12:58
slammer's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Lummerland
Posts: 4,840
Groaned at 117 Times in 82 Posts
Thanked 8,181 Times in 3,071 Posts
slammer has a reputation beyond reputeslammer has a reputation beyond reputeslammer has a reputation beyond reputeslammer has a reputation beyond reputeslammer has a reputation beyond reputeslammer has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Sourdough starter not starting?

Have you tried two electrodes in a thunderstorm?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg its-alive.jpg (38.7 KB, 20 views)
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank slammer for this useful post:
  #3  
Old 19.10.2019, 14:29
aSwissInTheUS's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Zurich area
Posts: 10,685
Groaned at 81 Times in 72 Posts
Thanked 16,188 Times in 7,191 Posts
aSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Sourdough starter not starting?

I would say it is the air which lacks something important: The right yeast spores.

May be time for road trip. Just you and your sourdough starter.
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank aSwissInTheUS for this useful post:
  #4  
Old 19.10.2019, 19:15
holdsy's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Baden
Posts: 31
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 26 Times in 15 Posts
holdsy has earned the respect of manyholdsy has earned the respect of manyholdsy has earned the respect of many
Re: Sourdough starter not starting?

Quote:
View Post
Any sourdough bakers here?

I'm struggling to get a sourdough starter going in Zurich and I'm not sure why. I have made a lot of starters and sourdough in other countries so I'm pretty confident in the process (I'm using 1:1:1 ratio when feeding — 1 part starter, 1 part water, 1 part flour) but even after 10 days or so after beginning, feeding twice a day for the past 4 or 5 days, the starter is still only mildly bubbly. I tried to bake with it but it had nowhere close to the necessary lifting power.

I primarily fed it with Terrasuisse white flour (https://produkte.migros.ch/terrasuis...l-104611000000) but switched to the "half white" (https://produkte.migros.ch/terrasuisse-halbweiss-mehl) a few days back to try getting some additional germ etc in there. My kitchen is around 20C, which is a temperature that has worked fine in the past.

Is there anything particular about Swiss flour? Preservatives? Something else? The flour is the only component that is significantly different to previous tries (unless there's something weird about the water, but that seems unlikely) so that seems one place to start troubleshooting.
I’m no expert on (non)starter doughs but I can confirm that I used standard white flour either from Coop or Migros (can’t remember which). I followed a Paul Hollywood recipe that involved a grated organic apple (I stuck it in the blender) and it worked fine. It’s still going strong!
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank holdsy for this useful post:
  #5  
Old 19.10.2019, 20:17
countrybumpkin's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: France
Posts: 337
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 572 Times in 234 Posts
countrybumpkin has earned the respect of manycountrybumpkin has earned the respect of manycountrybumpkin has earned the respect of many
Re: Sourdough starter not starting?

Quote:
View Post
Any sourdough bakers here?

I'm struggling to get a sourdough starter going in Zurich and I'm not sure why. I have made a lot of starters and sourdough in other countries so I'm pretty confident in the process (I'm using 1:1:1 ratio when feeding — 1 part starter, 1 part water, 1 part flour) but even after 10 days or so after beginning, feeding twice a day for the past 4 or 5 days, the starter is still only mildly bubbly. I tried to bake with it but it had nowhere close to the necessary lifting power.

I primarily fed it with Terrasuisse white flour (https://produkte.migros.ch/terrasuis...l-104611000000) but switched to the "half white" (https://produkte.migros.ch/terrasuisse-halbweiss-mehl) a few days back to try getting some additional germ etc in there. My kitchen is around 20C, which is a temperature that has worked fine in the past.

Is there anything particular about Swiss flour? Preservatives? Something else? The flour is the only component that is significantly different to previous tries (unless there's something weird about the water, but that seems unlikely) so that seems one place to start troubleshooting.
I made a “dinkel” or spelt starter when we were in Switzerland but I only fed it once per day, do you think that it needs a bit more time between feeds?

It had problems when we moved to France so I started over. The only other thing is, that I always, always use bottled mineral or filtered tap water.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 19.10.2019, 21:10
Traubert's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Zug
Posts: 961
Groaned at 10 Times in 9 Posts
Thanked 1,755 Times in 628 Posts
Traubert has a reputation beyond reputeTraubert has a reputation beyond reputeTraubert has a reputation beyond reputeTraubert has a reputation beyond reputeTraubert has a reputation beyond reputeTraubert has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Sourdough starter not starting?

What’s the temperature you’re keeping it at? Is it on a cold marble top? What country bumpkin said about the water is important. Unfiltered or straight tap water has chlorine, which can do your starter no good.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 20.10.2019, 00:30
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Zurich
Posts: 11
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 4 Times in 2 Posts
refrigerator has no particular reputation at present
Re: Sourdough starter not starting?

Quote:
View Post
I made a “dinkel” or spelt starter when we were in Switzerland but I only fed it once per day, do you think that it needs a bit more time between feeds?
I started out feeding it only once per day but it was about the same as it is now at twice per day — only mild bubbling. I'll try going back to once per day if I don't think of anything else (I don't want to change a lot of things at once or I won't know what fixed it). Internet wisdom is mixed on the once/twice per day schedule — some say it's a waste of flour, others say it's useful for controlling sourness. These things are fickle :-/

Quote:
View Post
What’s the temperature you’re keeping it at? Is it on a cold marble top? What country bumpkin said about the water is important. Unfiltered or straight tap water has chlorine, which can do your starter no good.
It is on a granite counter but the room is fairly warm (low 20s) and the starter itself is currently at 23C (just measured it), so I think that's probably fine. I can try bottled water if nothing else fixes it but in the past I have always used tap without trouble. Granted, the previous places I had starters were the UK and USA but I am reasonably sure both places chlorinate their water (but confirming this online is much harder than I thought!)

Tonight the starter is actually looking a fair bit perkier than it was so maybe the switch to half white flour a couple of days ago is finally helping..
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 20.10.2019, 08:52
slammer's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Lummerland
Posts: 4,840
Groaned at 117 Times in 82 Posts
Thanked 8,181 Times in 3,071 Posts
slammer has a reputation beyond reputeslammer has a reputation beyond reputeslammer has a reputation beyond reputeslammer has a reputation beyond reputeslammer has a reputation beyond reputeslammer has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Sourdough starter not starting?

Wait... what? That thing about it being alive was only a joke you know, you make it sound like something out of "The Blob"
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank slammer for this useful post:
  #9  
Old 20.10.2019, 14:46
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Zurich
Posts: 16
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
warnsey has no particular reputation at present
Re: Sourdough starter not starting?

Mine is over a year old now and never had any problems. It started first time using the Weiss Mehl Stadtmühle 1843 Zurich Flour available in Coop - not sure how significant my flour choice was but certainly it has never had any problems here in Zurich.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 20.10.2019, 20:05
Traubert's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Zug
Posts: 961
Groaned at 10 Times in 9 Posts
Thanked 1,755 Times in 628 Posts
Traubert has a reputation beyond reputeTraubert has a reputation beyond reputeTraubert has a reputation beyond reputeTraubert has a reputation beyond reputeTraubert has a reputation beyond reputeTraubert has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Sourdough starter not starting?

Quote:
View Post
I started out feeding it only once per day but it was about the same as it is now at twice per day — only mild bubbling. I'll try going back to once per day if I don't think of anything else (I don't want to change a lot of things at once or I won't know what fixed it). Internet wisdom is mixed on the once/twice per day schedule — some say it's a waste of flour, others say it's useful for controlling sourness. These things are fickle :-/



It is on a granite counter but the room is fairly warm (low 20s) and the starter itself is currently at 23C (just measured it), so I think that's probably fine. I can try bottled water if nothing else fixes it but in the past I have always used tap without trouble. Granted, the previous places I had starters were the UK and USA but I am reasonably sure both places chlorinate their water (but confirming this online is much harder than I thought!)

Tonight the starter is actually looking a fair bit perkier than it was so maybe the switch to half white flour a couple of days ago is finally helping..
You don’t have to get mineral water. You can boil water and leave it to stand, or you can even just let it stand open. Sourdoughs really seem to be idiosyncratic. Someone mentioned wild yeast and a road trip. Not a bad idea. Have you tried proclaiming love for it or played it any Mozart yet?
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 21.10.2019, 10:48
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: BL
Posts: 450
Groaned at 75 Times in 51 Posts
Thanked 967 Times in 381 Posts
gaburko has a reputation beyond reputegaburko has a reputation beyond reputegaburko has a reputation beyond reputegaburko has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Sourdough starter not starting?

It will get colonized by wild yeast, don't worry, keep feeding in the same way. Typically it takes around 2 weeks to allow the yeast to settle and colonize. If it's already bubbling, it means your yeast is there and already producing CO2 and it means its all a matter of time.

re water to flour ratio: when you say 1:1 you mean in volume or weight? Typically, I use a full cup of flour and half the same cup of water to account for the difference in density.

And yeast is everywhere, you don't need to travel anywhere, you don't need to change your water, flour, wardrobe, car and music choice. Just keep feeding it.

One tip, when discarding, discard way than what you discard now. As long as you leave a spoon of original starter it has enough lacto and yeast to colonize the new, fresh sugars in the flour
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 21.10.2019, 11:18
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Basel-Landschaft
Posts: 8
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
bensmumanddad has no particular reputation at present
Re: Sourdough starter not starting?

20C seems a bit cool to me, I usually start them off at more like 30. Do you have a source of gentle warmth you can try?
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 21.10.2019, 11:22
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: BL
Posts: 450
Groaned at 75 Times in 51 Posts
Thanked 967 Times in 381 Posts
gaburko has a reputation beyond reputegaburko has a reputation beyond reputegaburko has a reputation beyond reputegaburko has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Sourdough starter not starting?

Quote:
View Post
20C seems a bit cool to me, I usually start them off at more like 30. Do you have a source of gentle warmth you can try?
20c is fine Lower temp, slower speed, but it won't go dormant until you put it in fridge temp.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 21.10.2019, 18:02
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Zurich
Posts: 11
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 4 Times in 2 Posts
refrigerator has no particular reputation at present
Re: Sourdough starter not starting?

Quote:
View Post
re water to flour ratio: when you say 1:1 you mean in volume or weight? Typically, I use a full cup of flour and half the same cup of water to account for the difference in density.
Weight — I only use weight measurements when baking (argh American recipes and cups for everything).

The starter is looking a lot better now, doubling in volume after feeding. Waiting longer and/or switching to less refined flour helped. It's weird that it took so long, though. Previous starters have been good to go after a week or so.
Reply With Quote
Reply




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sourdough bread? Carolyn7 Food and drink 18 06.02.2018 23:00
Sourdough starter - to give away (Zurich) aag681 Food and drink 1 21.05.2015 22:55
Sourdough bread Caviarchips Food and drink 22 30.10.2012 12:27
Starting Salary for Foreigner -- not THAT kind of thread wanderlust Employment 45 11.07.2010 17:46
Dell Inspiron 6400 is not starting up!! YogiRajiv Other/general 3 24.06.2010 13:01


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 21:19.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0