The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Stiff starter vs liquid starter

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caviar's picture
caviar

Stiff starter vs liquid starter

I have read comments that a stiff starter has a larger proportion of flour and therefore has more beasties. Does this make it more potent using 200 grams of say 65 or75% starter than 200 grams of 100% starter through the fermentation and proofing?


With this in mind if you use a stiff starter and compensate for the liquid starter called for in the recipe adjust by adding the adjusting the water and flour amounts using the liquid starter would have included?

copyu's picture
copyu

has a larger proportion of flour to water, that's all.


That means there's more food for whatever beasties you have to attack and that means the yeast can reproduce much more effectively, for a longer time. However, in my experience, it takes longer for anything to happen when the starter is stiffer. (That makes it MUCH easier to keep a starter alive in the fridge if you're going away for a while...) Higher hydration seems to make it easier for the wild yeast to get to the flour and actually DO something with it...


To answer your question, though, higher hydration starters will double and triple much quicker than thicker ones...but that means they also run out of food faster, and more of the beasties die of starvation...It won't matter much in the final loaf whether you use a thick or thin starter, but the rising times (and sourness) may be different. You are quite correct, though, that you have to compensate for the amount of flour/water in your formula.


I decided to feed and "thicken up" my 2 neglected (refrigerated) starters tonight (about 4 hours ago). Usually, by now, they'd be climbing up the walls of the jar, since we have heating on at about 74°F—but at the moment, I can see only 6-8 bubbles in each jar and no visible rise. At least I know they're alive! They should both be ready to bake with tomorrow.


I hope this helps a bit.

caviar's picture
caviar

Thanks for your reply. I guess my thinking is much ado about nothing. Maybe my observation that when I refresh my 100% and my 75% starters in the evening or when I refresh the 75%wnich is whoe wheat and use some of the 75% to create a 100% batch the 75% seems to have risen much more than the 100%  one it may be the latter has risen and fallen by the time I looked. The 100% doesn't seem that alive,little amount of bubbles or thickness. The contrast is remarkable. Much more than say between the 75% and a 60% one.


 I'll pay more attention to the progress of the one with the higher hydration. Thanks again for your help.

copyu's picture
copyu

seems to help with activity, too. My slightly wetter starter is quite frothy on top now, while the stiffer looks very laid-back. However, they've both tripled overnight. One more feed and they're good to go!


Cheers


copyu