The Fresh Loaf

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HELP! 1st time doing sourdough starter!

Kimkalman's picture

HELP! 1st time doing sourdough starter!

I began a starter 7 days ago using rye and water.  Adding 1 cup rye and enough water to make it soupy daily.  I have just covered it lightly.  The top gets a crust on it every day and then I transfer to a new bowl and and feed the starter each night.  The only bubbles I have seen have been when I am pouring it out into the new bowl each night...I have not seen any froth though. 

Should I keep feeding it or wait until it bubbles/gets frothy or just go ahead and make bread since it has been 7 days.  It has a wine smell to it.

Please help!



LindyD's picture

Offhand, it sounds as if you're using too much water.

Try this:

Day 4: (and once daily until it starts to expand and smell yeasty), mix . .

2 oz. of the starter (1/4 cup after stirring down-discard the rest)
1 oz. flour** (scant 1/4 cup)
1 oz. water (2 tablespoons)

Quoted from:

clazar123's picture

Another recommendation is to start with a smaller amount of flour/water.In order to capture a culture, you don't need a large amount of flour/water. I usually start with just a couple tablespoons in a small jar. That way it doesn't hurt so much to throw half of it away with every feeding.

 Try taking a few tablespoons of what you have,put it in a covered small jar (half pint or pint) with a lid and let it sit in a warm place. Stir it a few times a day so it doesn't form a skin and to get the surface  mixed in.Yeast in the air can settle on the surface as well as come from  the flour.Keep it in a warmer spot-top of the fridge works well. When you see bubbles start (1-4 days,depending on the temp), then start the discard and feeding process-discard half, feed it a small amount flour/water (equal by weight) or just to make a pancake batter consistency. Feed it once or twice a day and stir it once or twice a day.When it raises itself double or triple, THEN it is ready to make bread.Then you feed it more volume to make enough for your recipe. Take what you want for your recipe, save a few tbsp ,stir in the next feed and put it in the refrigerator.

Sometimes with a new culture, I'll discard/feed for another week to establish it before I start storing in the refirgerator.I bake once a week so it's not a problem to keep it going.If I miss a weekly baking, I'll pull it out, discard and feed before putting it back in the fridge.

Edith Pilaf's picture
Edith Pilaf

I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure your starter should be thicker than soupy.  I have a pretty active and effective starter and it's more like a high hydration bread dough or thick muffin batter.  Sometimes it's thinner, but never soupy.

Edith Pilaf's picture
Edith Pilaf

if you haven't looked at the very informative tutorials on sourdough that have been posted here, it would be worthwhile spending some time reading them.  It's not necessary to make starter in large quantities.  Your starter will not make bread rise if it cannot make itself double or triple in volume.

AOJ's picture

Start over.

There are several good entries dealing with "starting a starter" on this website. Really quite easy directions to follow. I used this formula (, just rye flour and water, and was baking bread with the starter in 7 days. It is now my main starter, easy to maintain, quick to revive.