I’d been neglecting my sourdough “Mother” and hadn’t fed it in a month. It should be fed at least once a week, even when I’m not using it. But it is very forgiving. Before I could use it again I needed to feed it, which I did on Sunday and again on Monday. By then it was really active. Tuesday morning I fed it again and used two ounces of the starter to make a biga and two ounces to make a levain. Tuesday night I kneaded up two different batches of bread dough, one with the biga and the other with the levain. I added just a pinch of yeast, maybe 1/8th of a teaspoon, to the levain batch but none to the dough made with the biga. Both were allowed to rise for about an hour and then went in to the fridge for a slow overnight rise. The dough made with the biga was in a 3 quart pail and by 5:00 AM it had blown the lid off and was still rising. The other batch which had about 1 1/2 cups more flour was in a 6 quart pail and had risen to the top but the lid was still in place. The biga batch was taken out of the fridge at 5:00 and left to rise at room temperature for 2 1/2 hours, then shaped, and left to rise again. The other batch came out of the fridge at 7:00. It was ready to shape about the time the first loaves were ready to go in to the oven. I ended up with 3 large loaves from the first batch and 4 loaves using the levain batch.
If anyone is interested in growing a starter I can highly recommend Amy Scherber (Amy’s Bread) recipe. It is a pure sourdough starter, using only organic rye flour and spring water. No other additives.