The Fresh Loaf

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Help: How to convert my firm starter to liquid and more questions about my starter

Janwa's picture

Help: How to convert my firm starter to liquid and more questions about my starter

Hi everyone.  I began making a starter for the first time a few weeks ago using Reinhart's recipe in his book Artisan Breads Everyday.  It is a firm starter but have no clue how many percent hydration it is as I am very bad at computing ratios etc.  Basically his mother starter formula called for 2 3/4 cups (12 oz/340 g) flour, 1 cup (9 0z/255 g) water and 3/4 cup (4 oz/113 g) of the phase 4 seed culture.  I've encountered recipes that call for a much more liquid starter around 100%.  How do I convert a portion of my starter and turn it into 100% hydration starter?  Also. it's been more than a week now and I haven't fed my firm starter yet is this ok? How regularly should I feed my starter or leave it unfed? I don't think I could keep up with a regular feeding schedule. 


Another question, how long does the sour flavor come out of the starter? I used a portion of the new starter to make PR's crusty cheese bread but did not get the sour flavor at all.  Will this flavor come out after more feedings? 



flournwater's picture
Edith Pilaf's picture
Edith Pilaf

Your starter is about 75% hydration (255g/340g), and if your seed culture is the same, just add about 100g water to the whole thing to convert to 100% hydration. 

To convert a smaller portion, just figure whatever amount you want to convert is 3 parts water and 4 parts flour at 75% hydration.  Just add another 1 part water and it's 100%.  This is just my simplistic way of doing it.  For example, you want to convert 350g starter.  Divide 350 by 7 (the sum of 3 water and 4 flour). One part is 50g.  Add 50g water.

Again, assuming the seed culture is about the same hydration as the starter.


Janwa's picture

Thanks for your input Edith it helps a lot! Yes the seed culture is the same amount of hydration so I think the ratio you gave is about right. 

Once I add the water and mix them all together (to use for a single recipe for example) how long do I have to leave it at room temperature in order to rise etc? And do I have to feed this converted 100% starter a number of times before I can use it for a recipe? Or could I use it already once I add the water and let it ferment a little bit?  Just getting confused if giving the starter only water would be enough or do I have to feed it by adding flour as well?