The Fresh Loaf

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Changing hydration of rye starter?

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staff of life's picture
staff of life

Changing hydration of rye starter?

I've been working on Hamelman's 66% rye sourdough, which uses an 80% hydration rye starter.  I'd like to try using a 125% hydration rye starter, as Leader recommends.  How would I adjust the formula to compensate for the extra water in the culture?


Soundman's picture

Hey staff of life,

I'll take a shot at this, but no guarantees.

Let's say you will be using the same amount of final levain, for simplicity's sake 225 grams, to add to your final dough. In 125% hydration you have 225 total parts. Divide 225 grams of levain by 225 parts = 1.0. Your 125% hydration starter is composed of 125 x 1.0 = 125 grams of water and 100 x 1.0 = 100 grams of flour.

In the same weight of 80% hydration starter you have 180 total parts, so divide the weight, 225, by 180 = 1.25. You have, therefore, 80 x 1.25 = 100 grams of water and 100 x 1.25 = 125 grams of flour in the original final levain. The difference, from the vantage point of the new version, is +25 grams of water and -25 grams of flour. So you would need to decrease the water in the final dough by 25 grams and add 25 grams more of flour, to keep the same hydration level.

Or so I think!

Soundman (David)

ryeaskrye's picture

Not sure what amount the recipe calls for, but using Soundman's figure of 225g, you can take 180g of 80% hydration and add 45g of water to give you 225g of 125% hydration starter.

I have a little Excel spreadsheet I created to help me convert starter hydrations for various recipes. I'd be happy to email to you if you want to PM me your address.


ema2two's picture


I'm new enough to the site to not be able to find the PM function or your e-mail address.

I did see JMonkey's sourdough spreadsheets in the tools section.  Is your's similar.

I have a stiff white starter, but many recipes call for a batter-type starter and I'm not very confident about converting and using it those recipes, so I think your tool will help me.

ryeaskrye's picture

...and don't know if there's the capability to PM here or not.

I haven't looked at JMonkey's spreadsheets as I had developed mine before arriving at this wonderful site.

email me at "channelz7 -at symbol- yahoo -dot- com" and I can send mine if you are interested. It's very simplistic but I use it a lot.


Larry Clark's picture
Larry Clark

This calculator should be helpful.