Tartine Bread Starter, Day 10.

What’s happening with my Tartine bread starter? It’s on day 10 and I think it should be ready to use this week. It isn’t smelling horrible any longer. {Translation: I no longer want to gag when I feed it.} It has more of a light sourdough smell.

After last week’s sourdough workshop at City Market {yay, for free community bread classes}, I realized that I might have been keeping the starter too wet. Instead of pancake batter, it should be more pudding-like.

Thus, I have found that using an actual measuring cup {1/3 cup is my preference} to add equal parts flour and lukewarm water yields a starter with a better consistency than using my hands. I don’t have enough experience to eyeball it just yet.

I’m hoping to feed the starter a few more days to observe its rising and falling patterns, then bake with it this week.  All in all, I’m finding how much of an actual “art” there is to bread-making. Who knew flour and water could be so puzzling? I actually googled “Tartine starter” to see if I could find other people trying to make their own. I found a San Francisco columnist doing his own two-part series on the starter: Part I, Part II. He too finds it complex. I am not alone.

About Sarah

Always thinking about my next meal.
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11 Responses to Tartine Bread Starter, Day 10.

  1. Pingback: NIBBLES: My Favorite Breakfast « daily nibbles

  2. Pingback: IN THE KITCHEN: Baking the Tartine Bread « daily nibbles

  3. KaCey says:

    Great post! I’m on day 7 of the journey. However, I don’t see much of rising activity (perhaps less than 20% or less). I do see some bubbles, not much. The start smells much less acidic than it was few days ago. When do you start seeing the noticable rising and falling pattern?

    • Sarah says:

      Hi KaCey! I think it might vary greatly depending on location and room temperature. Mine took about two weeks to develop……and since it was my first time…..I sort of crossed my fingers that it was ready. That part was hard for me to gauge for the first time too. Mine did go from smelling revoltingly foul to something much more pleasant though, so that’s a good sign your starter is doing the same.

      • KaCey says:

        Hi Sarah – thanks. Interestingly mine took off after day 10th. Starter more than double in size in about 8 hours. I baked yesterday which is day 15th. It was awesome. Very chewy with golden brown crusts and lots of air pocket. I truly had the moment just like you said in you other blog when biting into it. Cheers!

      • Sarah says:

        Yay! That’s so awesome. I’m trying to revive the Tartine starter! I think I may have left it in the fridge for too long while I was away for the holidays. Are you going to keep your starter going?

  4. Alice says:

    Im working on a starter for sourdough also, and I’m on my second attempt….!! But I am working with Peter Reinharts “recipe” for a starter, which calls for pineapple juice and basically any flour you would use for bread making. You can check it out on my blog… I need to update it though, I think its only one or two published posts long right now.

  5. Iain says:

    Hi! I am pretty happy i have come across these posts. I have been fiddling with different starters for the last three weeks. Clearly I have been way to impatient. I check it after two or three days and I just figured that it should work perfectly after i feed it for the first time.

    • Sarah says:

      Oh, the Tartine wild yeast starter is a tricky thing. I actually traveled for most of the summer, and my starter died, which was so sad. You spend all that time cultivating it…..

      Good luck! The bread is really wonderful, and you get such a sense of accomplishment from it.

      {Maybe I’ll start it up again!}

  6. sarah says:

    I have a stupid question- I am working on my starter now too and i dont see much activity but i put it in my cupboard- I guess i should try the fridge? with a towel over it? Anyway, my question is- do you have to make a new starter everytime you bake a loaf of bread! i didn’t read the book all the way through yet but if anyone knows right off the top of their head it would be much appreciated.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Sarah! That’s not a stupid question at all. I’ll try to help, but I too find starters tricky! If you don’t see much activity, refrigerating it will delay the fermentation. I would just keep it on the counter with a towel over it.

      And, no you don’t have to make a new starter to make a new loaf of bread. You’ll have some of the starter left over from the levain, and you can use that as your starter for the next loaf. Continue to feed it once a day. {This is where I get confused…some people feed it twice a day, so I’m not sure what is best.} Also, this is where you can refrigerate the starter if you don’t want to feed it every day since it delays the fermentation process. I’m not super successful with maintaining my starter. I was away for the summer and mine died. I believe people try to feed the refrigerated starter at least once a week, and the day before if baking. They also leave it out at room temperature for a few hours after feeding.

      Again, I’m no expert on this. I need help as well!

      I did find a few resources for maintaining sourdough starters online:



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