Recently, my loaves have not been fully up to scratch – a bit spready on the peel, poor loft and poor ears.
My starter seemed to be performing OK, but sometimes with starters, who knows? I’m not the sort of baker who would cherish a 100 year old starter, so time to try a new one!
I made my last starter just under a year ago following Gerard Rubaud’s method as detailed in MC’s Farine blog. It requires a freshly milled organic blend of 60% wheat, 30% spelt and 10% rye at each daily stage – and a proofing box to maintain a constant 27C. The starter was good, so I’ve used the same method again.
Starter creation went something like this:
- · Day 0 pm: 86g 3 grain blend + 86g organic BF + 103g warm water. Hand mix to a ball and sprinkle on 0.4g malt flour and 0.9g salt. Knead these in and sit the ball on a bed of coarse 3 grain blend in a plastic pot. Sprinkle more coarse flour on top to cover. Put lid on pot and store at 27C.
- · Day 1 pm: the dough was well risen with a sweet taste and a dirty smell. I brushed off the coarse flour and took 80g of the crusty part and mixed with 80g BF, 80g 3 grain blend, 108g warm water, 0.8g malt and 0.4g salt. Knead to a ball and put in the cleaned plastic tub, covered. Store at 27c again.
- · Day 2 pm: again well risen, but with a sickly sweet smell. 66g starter + 83g BF + 50g 3 grain blend + 83g warm water + 0.35g salt. Store as previous.
- · Day 3 pm: well risen, with smell much reduced. 44g starter + 58g BF + 25g 3 grain blend + 46g water + 0.2g salt.
- · Day 4 pm: well risen, off smells gone. Starter considered fit for use and proceeded to make levain – my normal feeds at e5, e11 and m8
- · Day 5 am: last levain feed and dough made 2 hours later. 20% 3 grain blend, 75% hydration and 16% stiff levain. Shaped loaves overnight retarded.
- · Day 6 am: loaves baked – quite pleased with the result!
Here’s the starter at Day 1, prior to scraping off the loose coarse flour:
Day 4 levain just mixed prior to referment:
Day 5 levain prior to use:
And the crumb: