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Forkish’s new book. re: Day 5 mix. Need help please

CMCVOL's picture

Forkish’s new book. re: Day 5 mix. Need help please

I am supposed to do the Day 5 dump and mix this evening. The starter has not been rising and falling yet. I’ve been using bottled drinking water and King Arthur organic whole wheat thus far. Maybe a few bubble on top throughout the days but no significant rise and fall. Should I proceed? Also, the ambient temperature of the room has been 68-70 . Not sure what I could have done different. Followed his directions exactly. Thanks for any advise! 

clevins's picture

Starters in good, warm conditions (mid to high 70s) take about 7 days. It's typical of a starter to show a burst of activity, subside and seem to do little, then come back alive. If your temps are 68F things will take a bit longer. 

Abe's picture

You really need to get those temps up. Preferably close to 78F. Otherwise it's going to take a long time. 

Econprof's picture

You can get one on Amazon for around $10. Put an upside down bowl on top of the mat and put your starter on that. I couldn’t get anything to take off before I tried this because the ambient temperature was always too cold.

bakeyourownAU's picture


I had the same issue as well when starting my starter three years ago.

Where I do my baking is really cold and my starter wouldnt rise.

What really boosted my starter was using the oven turned off with the light on.

You could also  turn the oven on for a couple of mins and then turn it off, putting the starter in it. This will allow for the required temp to build your starter.

I hope this helps :) !


cfraenkel's picture

You can try setting your starter on a heating pad on the low setting, or microwave a couple of mugs of water until they are boiling (if you have a blue one, for whatever reason the blue glaze seems to hold heat) then set your starter in the microwave with the mugs and close the door to the microwave.  Instant proofing box! 

That being said, my kitchen is *never* above 68 ish and my starter did eventually bloom. (thus the reason I know all the tricks!) It just takes a LOT longer.

rainydaybread's picture

I assume you finished your starter by now and hopefully it worked out for you. I finished mine 4 days ago and it looked like you described while it was developing. Occasionally I saw a bubble, but not much action until I switched over to white flour. On Day 8, after sitting out for 24 hours, it looked very happy and I was happy too! My room temperature was 70° pretty much the whole time. Ken Forkish loves room temperatures of about 70°.

CMCVOL's picture

Thanks for responding . I started all over, although I still having the same results. So I’m on Day 6 of Forkish’s plan. I did increase the room temperature for this culture, 72-73 degrees. Maybe seeing more activity in the bucket but still no rise and fall yet. I’m thinking of continuing a daily feed until I see it come alive and then put it in the fridge. 

rainydaybread's picture

I don't remember getting much rise or fall either, but on Day 7 when I put a spoon in it to do the discard, it was gassy and it had webbing.  He said to feed it and leave it out 24 hours which I did.  They next day (Day 8) was when I thought it looked like something other than dead.  It had little bubbles all over the top—sort of like a poolish.

I think he considers the starter at this point to be more like a flavoring agent than a true levain that will make the bread rise. Most of the recipes in the Same Day Breads section use some yeast and say the levain in optional. 

When you get to the Dutch Oven Levain Recipes later in the book he feeds and builds up the starter even more and doesn't use yeast.  That is probably where you get a true sourdough levain.  

I like having a flavoring agent ready in the refrigerator at all times since I do bake weekly.  I am also interested in trying some of the other wheat flours like einkorn and spelt which they say give a different flavor.  I don't really like sourdough that much, so I may never get around to the "full monty" in the Dutch Oven Levain Recipes.