The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I think my starter died

frogdog's picture

I think my starter died

Finally got my starter going.  Baked three loaves that turned out pretty good for a first time effort.  Had about 1 cup starter left.  Added 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour.  After about 24 hours it looks like it is dead.  No bubbles, no foam.  Dead.  I left out on the sink covered with cling wrap.  Thoughts anyone?

trevor.james's picture

I'd try adding more water and flour.  If you go with a recipe such as Peter Reinhart's Mother Starter refresher (p. 42 of Artisan Breads Every Day) ... he calls for 2 3/4 cups of flour and 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of water per 3/4 cup of starter.  Since you have 1 cup you could up the flour a bit - I'd try adding some more flour and water and see what happens.  Let it sit at room temp for 4-8 hours and you should get some activity.

Try that and let us know what happens.

-Trevor James

LindyD's picture

A half a cup of flour to feed a full cup of starter is woefully insufficient.  I don't know what hydration you are keeping it, but it needs to be fed more flour.

frogdog's picture

Thanks, will try more flour

althetrainer's picture

You probably want to use more flour and water.  When I feed my starter I always use at least 1:1:1 starter:flour:water ratio.  If I want a lower hydration level starter I use less water but at least the equal amount of flour to starter.  If, increasing amount of flour & water doesn't  seem to help you may want to try force feeding it for a couple of days.

My starter did something similar to me once.  For no particular reasons it seemed to die on me while I house sat for my friend.  My husband didn't know how to feed the starter so I brought it with me.  Good thing I did or I would accuse my husband of killing it LOL Anyways, I ended up force feeding the starter (fed it 2 - 3 times a day) and put 3 - 4 raisins into the starter and let it do its thing.  After 36 hours, my starter became bubbbly and smelled like starter again.   Hope yours will do the same.

Best of luck!


frogdog's picture

It came back to life.  I fed it a couple times and it is now so big it is taking over the kitchen.  I will now have to get rid of some and put it in the frig.   I hate throwing some away, but I don't know anyone that I could share with.  The two of us are still trying to eat all of the three loaves I made yesterday. 

Salilah's picture

It said on the news (BBC) this morning (in an awful piece "celebrating" the Chorleywood Bread Process) that something like 35% of bread is thrown away - so don't beat yourself up!  I keep reassuring my other half that we don't have to finish all of every loaf - we can't! - and that it's all about learning...