Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Starter trials...start of day nine

Yesterday and today are proving to be very promising days for the starter trials.

I have learned that my best predictions are generally wrong, and yesterday's and today's starters are no exception.

Let's start with yesterday, which was the start of day eight.  Actually, let's go back to the start of day six, because that's really where the day eight story begins.  On day six, I checked the starters, and there was no visible change from the prior update, which was day four.

On day seven, there was no visible expansion of the pineapple batch, but that batch, and the distilled water batch, showed signs of gluten development.  I decided to feed those two, and while I was at it, I fed the tap water batch, even though it still didn't show any real development.  I guess I felt sorry for it, so I broke the process.

I woke on day eight to see expansion of the pineapple batch.  Excellent!!  This was the first expansion I had seen in any of the starters, and the first set of photos below show the development I woke up to on day eight.

First the tap water batch.  Compared to the others, it still looked lifeless, continuing with its separation layer of liquid, which I'd stirred in the prior two days.  While day eight didn't see nearly the same level of liquid separation as all the other days, I was still not holding out a lot of hope for my tap water batch.

Then the distilled water batch.  Still no expansion, but I was seeing some gluten development, and no liquid separation. This one looked a little more promising.  It also looked healthier to me, if that's a word we can even use here.

The pineapple batch, however, looked like it was waking up.  Not only was there some gluten development, there was a lot of surface bubble activity, as well, but most important, it was expanding.  My eyeball estimate put the expansion at about 40%.  The surface bubbles are apparent in the pineapple batch here.

The expansion of the pineapple batch is shown here, with the distilled water batch on the left, and the pineapple batch on the right.

I am using the exact same quantities in each batch, as well as matching containers now, so it's easier to see any expansion that might be occurring.

I went to bed on day eight, which was yesterday, convinced my pineapple batch was going to make it, still hopeful about my distilled water batch, and not so hopeful about the tap water batch.

I woke up on day nine, and it was a whole new ball game, putting an exclamation point on the fact my predictions have yet to hold true.  I feel like the weather man in the middle of winter.  I have yet to nail the forecast!

All three batches were awake, expanding, and looking happy and healthy, and the front runner, in terms of development, would prove a bit of a surprise.

Onto the photos...

The tap water batch on the start of day more water separation, very clear signs of development, and best of all, expansion, even to the point of looking a bit 'pillowy'!

The distilled water batch, even a little better, with more pronounced bubble development.  Clearly expanding, as well!

Last, but not least, the pineapple batch.  Also showing similar development signs.

You may or may not recall, both of the water batches are fed with a 50/50 mix of whole wheat and bread flour.  The pineapple batch is fed with only bread flour now, which is why it's so much lighter in color.

I put the expansion of the water batches at about 100%, with the pineapple batch close, but not quite to that level.

To say I'm pleased with all three batches would be a bit of an understatement.  Where my pineapple batch has typically been the front runner, I would say day nine's winner is the distilled water batch, but I have to give the 'most improved' award to the tap water batch!  At this point, I'm beginning to feel all three will be successful, but who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Onto part four.

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