The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Alternate feeding methods?

Nymphaea's picture

Alternate feeding methods?

I was curious if adding other foods to the starter could possibly increase the amount of time it would take for it to need a feeding. My starter has been doing well for the past month and a bit since I made it, but the past few days I´ve been hit with a strong alcohol, and eventually acetone smell today. I know this most likely means it needs more feeding, but I would much rather stick to my once-a-day feeding, and my little critters seem to be getting a little too efficient at eating.

I am currently keeping my starter in my room in a tupperware container, it averages about 24.5 degrees celcius in here, and I keep it at 66% hydration.

I´m planning on feeding it every few hours for the next day or two to try getting the smell out, and get it back to health, but hopefully I can keep it back at the once a day feeding, as I tend to like baking a loaf every other day, sometimes a few days in a row.

Would adding sugar, straight or in juices/honey/etc, lengthen the amount of time the starter can last without food, or should I just stick with just flour? And speaking of flour, I currently use AP flour, would other flours have more food per gram for the starter than AP flour does?

ramat123's picture

Hi there,

Can I ask you a question more basic than the one you are asking?

I'm maintaining a starter and having problems to maintain it after use some of it for a loaf.

Let's say I have having 500 grams of starter and I need 100 grams.

How much I feed the remaining 400 grams?

Is there a proportion?

Thanks a lot,


Nymphaea's picture

You should feed equal weight in flour or more to the starter, so that would be 400g, which is a little excessive :P

The best way to go is to figure out how much you plan to use, say you plan to use that 100g each day baking a loaf, then keep just enough to maintain it, other wise you will need to throw some out.

I don´t know enough about your starter, such as hydration, but if you were to use my 66% as an example, to have enough to use for bread and then feed the rest each day could be done with a 1:2:3 feeding method(something I left out, this is my ratio I feed at) which would give you 20g starter, 40g of water and 60g of flour. Your starter should be well fed, and you will have exactly 120g of starter, 20g for the next feeding, and 100g for your bread :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You could try looking for a cooler place to store the starter between your 24hr feeds.  You could also add a pinch of salt.  Or you could reduce the water, to 1.5 instead of 2.  This also slows down the consumption.  Or feed it more flour, 1:3:5 for example  or 1:5:8 so it takes longer to eat it up.   If that is still too much waste, then reduce the starter to just a rounded teaspoon (10g) before adding water and flour.

Adding a little sugar, honey, and other sugar foods will speed thing up more than slowing them down.  Just the opposite of what you want to do. 


Nymphaea's picture

The temperature one is a little hard, living with family I don´t really get along with I don´t have many choices for spots, but that seems to be the best one. I will try the salt one, just because I would like to keep at 66%, it has served me well since I switched to it.

But yes, thank you very much :) Glad I didn´t try the additional sugar idea, that could of backfired quite quickly ^-^;;