Did I just drown my starter?
Yesterday I prepared a loaf by taking the majority of the mature starter for making bread and left a bit of it to maintain as my future regular starter. I put the piece I was going to use for future regular starter in a jar and added some water then I stirred it in to dissolve the starter. I was going to add flour at some point to complete the feeding but forgot. I didn’t add flour until 8 hours later. At that point the jar smelled odd. It didn’t have the light acidic smell. It was a new sort of smell which I can’t distinguish. I added the flour anyway and left it on the counter overnight. In the morning, no activity, just that same odd smell. I added flour and water again with 1:1:1 ratio but there’s still nothing, four hours in.
Did I drown it?
it should come around. No need to feed more flour until it is active again. You can't drown it but it takes a little more time for the numbers to come back. Not to worry.
I’m glad to hear and hope you’re right. My last sourdough starter backup was in May.
of the starter in the wet first 8 hours? And later on. Temp makes a big difference.
It was left at room temp so 22 C (71 F). Later, after feeding it was again left at this temperature. I may have used cold tap water when I forgot to add the flour. It was such a mundane task (feeding a starter) at this point that I didn’t pay attention to the water source. Maybe I did use cold water and this caused the massive slow-down of activity?
room temp in less than an hour. Still quite cool. So the 8 hours would not be a big deal breaker. Just very wet. Might want to get it slightly warmer now, but only around 25°- 26°C.
It should bounce back, maybe even stronger than before. Keep track of the aroma and make notes. If it looks thin, thicken it up just a bit so you can see it rise better unless you normally keep a wet starter.
It’s been 14 hours since the last feeding and I can say there are signs of life. It’s a stiff starter and there’s a little arch forming when looking at the jar that I’m sure wasn’t there at the start.
In the morning, when I saw the lack of activity from the previously watered down starter, I took a piece of dough from the cold proofing bread in the fridge and mixed it up with flour and water. I did a 1:1:1 ratio and it finally doubled after 14 hours.
In summary, I have two versions of my starter. One that was watered down with a slight arch and one that’s taken from the bread dough that has just doubled. You intrigued me when you said the previously watered down version (I’ll call him Pooly from now on) might come out stronger. Should I start using Pooly instead?
A generous feeding left to rise to peek certainly boosts a starter. How are the aromas?
Another generous feeding should knock a few hours off that peeking time. Did the bread also rise slower than normal? You can eventually race the two and see which one peaks first and which makes the better bread.
This morning the starter has doubled! Hooray! There are no vinegar notes at all. I imagine it’s like what a starter would smell like if it didn’t have any acid, just a doughy smell.
The bread didn’t rise slower. 6-8 hours for bulk ferment.
The race idea is great. I fed them both at the same time to see which one is going to behave better.
Here are the first test results and I’m not surprised. Left one is from the dough, the right one is the “drowned” one.
I’ll give it another feeding to try and speed it up.
If I revive the “drowned“ one enough to bring it up to the same speed as the left one, will it be any different in characteristics such as taste, resilience or anything else?
Sounds like you're getting the hang of working with starters. If it changed? Good qustion. Bake and find out. :)