My starter wouldn’t start. I put it in a dark closet at about 65*. Any pointers? What could I have missed?!

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6 Comments

weshook November 27, 2018
You shouldn't need to add yeast...sourdough gathers wild yeast from the air. If you bake with yeast, your kitchen will have a lot of yeast in the air. Warm water makes a big difference. Putting the starter in the warmest place in your kitchen helps too. On the counter over the dishwasher, on top of the refrigerator, in the oven with the light on...just don't forget it in there and start your oven preheating (I did that, but magically I didn't kill it)! It takes some time, just keep discarding half and feeding it every day or so. Good luck!
 
BakerBren November 26, 2018
It's a side note, but no need to put the starter in the dark. Yeast likes light just fine.
 
Danielle B. November 26, 2018
I’m the original poster but wasn’t able to log back in. Thank you for your response, but this recipe doesn’t call for yeast. 😭 I’m so confused! Should I be going rogue and adding yeast?
 
BakerBren November 27, 2018
Danielle, no worries. No, you don't have to add yeast. A sourdough culture is comprised of primarily yeast and bacteria. They are found in the air and naturally occur on the grains. So the dark (whole) rye flour self-inoculates your starter when you hydrate it with water and let it sit in favorable conditions. That's a reason to be sure you're using whole rye flour (usually sold as dark). Other flours can work but maybe not on the timeline the recipe calls for.
 
PieceOfLayerCake November 25, 2018
At 65 degrees...it would take hours for it to be active. I would try a warmer environment. I usually have the best results in an 80 degree room, but I sometimes have my starter at 90 degrees and it still works fine (if not too active). The cooler it gets, though, the longer I have to wait.
 
Alyssa November 25, 2018
Make sure you're using warm water and storing in a warm environment. I would also try putting the starter slurry in a jar and then, instead of a lid, just secure a kitchen towel over the top with a rubber band.
 
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