Help with sourdough starter!!

I made a sourdough starter using grapes, water, and flour. The first two days of the process went very well, but then it did not triple in size as it should. I've been keeping it in a warm spot feeding it daily, but forgot to feed it yesterday. It still hasn't tripled like it should. The starter has separated with murky looking liquid on top and white on the bottom. Is it okay? How can I tell if it is good? The smell is awful- doesn't have a yeasty smell. Anyone got any good recipe for making a starter using wild yeast? Thanks!



petitbleu August 28, 2011
Yes, no worries, Katie. My sourdough took two weeks before I really felt that it was ready to use. Just keep feeding it at roughly the same time every day. This summer I've noticed that I have to feet it twice a day because it's so hot, so you might need to factor in the ambient temperature. That murky liquid on top? It's hooch. It won't hurt anything. Just pour it off and keep doing what you've been doing.
boulangere August 27, 2011
A pleasure! Please let me know how it progresses.
katiebakes August 27, 2011
boulangere: thanks for your help!
boulangere August 27, 2011
Yes, Katie, it will. The grape starter is so heavenly - it'll start to take on almost a champagne-like aroma as it really starts to ferment. After the third feeding you should start to see noticeable signs of fermentation. Be patient.
Poinsettia August 27, 2011
You can start a sourdough from rye flour, joghurt and water. Mix 3 spoons of each in a clean glass (Mason) jar using a wooden cooking spoon, let sit at a warm place for a day. Add another 3 spoons of each ingredient, let sit for a day; repeat on day 3. On the fourth day you should have enough to bake a 4 pound bread (~70% rye, ~30% barley and wheat). To keep the dough going you can remove a bit of the bread dough before baking it and keep feeding it with rye flour and water.

Using rye flour will keep bacteria and yeast that you don't want in check; on wheat yeast quickly overgrow. You can use buttermilk instead of joghurt, it actually works better, but it has to be cultured buttermilk not a fake variant that has citrate added. The water has to be chlorine free, but any filtered water will do.

The smell of the sourdough should not be unpleasant, but rather be reminiscent of pickles or sour milk products and wet rye flour.
katiebakes August 27, 2011
Do you think I should keep feeding it everyday? Will it get to where it triples in size when ready?
boulangere August 27, 2011
Oh, it's nowhere near ready to make bread. The reason it isn't moving along as fast as your recipe seems to imply it should be is that it just doesn't have enough of a yeast population built up yet. If you're still in the very early days, you've probably got 4 or 5 to go before it will be ready to bake with. Be patient - this is a slow process, the the end result is worth every minute of ot.
katiebakes August 27, 2011
What my recipe called for doing was crushing the grapes then adding it into the flour-water mixture and letting it set for two days, then discarding the grapes. They were not in a cheesecloth. I don't know how to tell if its ready to make bread.
boulangere August 27, 2011
I keep a wild yeast SD starter going and use it all the time. The one you're building with grapes is a very nice one. It's fine. Do you have your grapes tied up in cheesecloth? Lift them out give it a good stir, feed it, keep calm and carry on.
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