The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

100% hydration starter deflating?

sfgordon's picture

100% hydration starter deflating?

Hello Everyone,


I have a question about my sourdough starter, which is now about 2 weeks old. I have been feeding it once per day, 200g starter to 100g room-temperature (~78F) filtered water, 50g KA bread flour, and 50g of a locally-grown, locally-milled whole wheat flour (which I keep in the freezer as per the farmer's instructions). I've been keeping the starter in a straight-sided pyrex measuring cup with a piece of tape to mark the level of the dough, and when I mix the old starter with new flour and water, it starts bubbling almost immediately. I'm usually gone for most of the day, so I can't track the starter's progress hourly, but based on the marks left on the side of my pyrex, the dough looks to have doubled in size and then deflated almost back to it's original level. The doubling must happen in the first 8 hours, because I am never there to see the starter at it's topmost point. There are always bubbles on the surface and sometimes it even gets frothy, so I know it's still alive.

My question is whether I will be able to use this starter to make sourdough any time soon? Should I be concerned about the deflation, and if so, is there anything I can do about it (I suspect feeding more frequently)? Also, if I want to store my starter in the refrigerator, can I do that at this point, despite the massive amount of deflation? Thank you for any advice you can give me.


breadbakingbassplayer's picture


I think you may be under-feeding your starter.  I think you should take the 100g of starter, and feed it with 100g of water, and 100g of whatever flour blend you are using.  Also, I would feed it with AP instead of bread flour...  I am no expert, but this is what I suspect...  I'm sure there are some much more qualified people here on TFL...


logdrum's picture

the flour is unbleached & unbromated, either AP or BF will work fine. For a 12hr feed I'll go 1:2:2 s/f/w, but my house is definitely cooler than 78F.




nicodvb's picture

It's perfectly normal that a starter deflate: the more liquid it is the sooner it will deflate, like very dough.

Generally -and as a rule of thumb- if after feeding it with equal amounts of levain, water and flour it doubles its volume in 3 hours time it's good enough to bake, but it should be used only when it's just past its peak: when, after having risen, it has just started to deflate.

Yumarama's picture

right now your feeding ratio is 2:.5:.5 which is really not much food for the yeasties so they are likely bubbling up pretty fast (not a big meal there) and collapsing soon. 

Switch to 1:2:2 as already suggested, starting with maybe 25g old starter, add 50g water and 50g (total) flour mix of your choice. This will give the starter about 4 times (or is it 8?) the amount of food you've been giving it so it will take a fair bit longer to get through it all. That in turn means more gas production - more bubbling/increasing. It may even make it so you get home in time to see it at it's peak although a temp of 78º also means faster activity so you may still not catch it in person.

Make sure your jar is able to accommodate three or even 4 times the quantity, though. The warmth plus mixed flour plus more foods could really get you a lot of activity.


sfgordon's picture

thank you so much for your wise suggestions!