Sourdough Project: Day 2

Woo! Day 2! Another update for my Sourdough Project. If you’re interested in reading about the previous days, just follow the links below:

After the first 24 hours you shouldn’t really expect to notice anything “lively’ about the sourdough starter, except maybe for a really faint alcohol odor. But Day 2 is when it really gets exciting.

Between the first 24 hours and 48 hours is when I noticed a couple of things:

  • There are gas bubbles forming in my starter. In fact, halfway through Day 2, I noticed that my starter doubled in volume. This is what you expect from rising bread dough, when the yeast is active and producing enough carbon dioxide gas to increase the volume of the dough. It’s alive!
Carbon dioxide gas bubbles in my starter

Carbon dioxide gas bubbles in my starter

  • The alcohol odor is stronger. In fact, it’s hard to miss. There are also more subtle odors similar to the scent of bananas or even pineapple. This is because the prolonged fermentation has produced esters (the same compounds responsible for the sweet scents of different fruits), due to the combination of alcohol (from yeast metabolism) and acids (from Lactobacillus metabolism) in the starter.
I added a bit of water to wet my dough

At Day 1

Sourdough Starter

Midway from Day 1 to Day 2

What’s next then?

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup distilled drinking water
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1 tsp whole wheat flour

Steps

Mix the starter. Split it and throw away half. Set aside.

Mix the fresh ingredients above. Stir the new dough into the remaining starter and keep covered on your kitchen counter for 24 hours. Stir halfway through to get some oxygen into the starter.

It’s practically the same steps as in Day o and Day1 but with a minor difference. You HAVE to throw out half of the existing starter. Why is that? First, you can’t just keep adding more ingredients into your starter, otherwise you’ll end up with volumes you might not need or be able to manage in the long run. Another reason is to manage the amount of other metabolic by-products in the starter. Aside from alcohol and acid, the fermentation process can produce other substances which will eventually kill your yeast if left unchecked. By throwing out half the starter before adding fresh materials, you dilute the other byproducts, which will in turn keep your yeast strong.

Ready for Day 3

Ready for Day 3

In  Day 3, I will start weaning my yeast from nutrient rich rye flour to a predominantly wheat flour base. Watch out for the next post. 🙂

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