The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Switching to firm starter problem

jackie9999's picture

Switching to firm starter problem

I'd been using my 100% starter for a month or so. I would take it out of fridge before weekend and feed a couple of times (over 24 hours) and use it, then back in the fridge until next weekend.

I read posts here saying many keep the starter at 75% (1:3:4) so I wanted to try that since most recipes call for firmer starter. This 75% starter doesn't seem to take off for me..there are no bubbles, although it does seem to double.  Am I doing something wrong - should firmer NOT be feed twice a day? Since it's not as active looking as the 100% I can't really tell when its hungry. And the bread and pizza I used it on didn't really do much..any suggestions?

I assumed a happy starter was a bubbly starter.....


xaipete's picture

My starter is at about 75% and I just feed it once. It takes about 6 to 8 hours to double on the counter.


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Jackie.

The signs of maturity are different in a firm starter and a liquid starter. When ripe and ready to use, a firm starter will have doubled and be domed on top. If you are fermenting it in a transparent container, you will see that it is full of bubbles. A liquid starter does not expand as much, but, when ripe, will have lots of bubbles on the surface.

From your description, I suspect your 75% hydration starter is just fine.


jackie9999's picture

Thanks for that info David...that's what I was wondering. I didn't have any bubbles at all ...but now I know what to look for I'm going to try again - keeping my 100% as backup of course :)

noyeast's picture

Your starter ratio seems fine to me ( I'm fairly new though) but I'm wondering about your bread recipe and how much starter you might be using. 

I've recently discovered not to use so much starter and to make sure of a healthy starter and one that is peaking in its activity.


I read that too much starter can actually produce less flavour because the yeast grow quicker than the bacteria and its the bacteria that produce the sour flavour whilst its the yest that produce the CO2.( an over simplification )

So, how much starter are you typically using.

jackie9999's picture

I'd made a few things and nothing seemed to rise with it. I started a new batch using Davids information and this time I'm sure it's good. I think the first time I didn't use enough *seed* starter - I went with 15:45:60 this time and that made all the difference.

Thanks :)