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Making a 166% Sourdough Starter

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Ron Berg's picture
Ron Berg

Making a 166% Sourdough Starter

How do I convert my sourdough starter which consists of 1 c. starter to 1 c. water and 1 1/2 cups of flour (and what percentage is that?) to a starter which is 166%?

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

I am no sourdough expert but that's what I have in the fridge.  I use this % to make SD sandwich breads all the time.  It works very well for me.  I use 1:1 water:flour ratio by volume, not by weight.  It's roughly 8 oz of water and 5 oz of flour, I believe.  If you begin to feed your starter using the 1:1 ratio, the hydration level will adjust to 166%. 


If you want a bit more explanation, here's a link to a previous discussion:



http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/6197/help-convert-starter-hydration-volume-weight


Happy baking!


Al


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and post that.  It is much easier to mathematize.  Or did you want a rough estimate?


Ok, rough estimate for cups:  ...one cup of (stirred?) starter .... anywhere between 150g and 240g....    One cup of water... between 230g to 250g.     1 1/2 cups flour...  between 180g to 300g   


Hydration of your starter is...  oh well, my head hurts ... experience tells me it is close to 100% hydration, maybe a little less.   If you add half a cup of water that would make it aprox. 150% hydration so if you added a tiny splash more water, then it would be about right. 


So next time you refresh your starter,  use 1 cup starter to 1 5/8 cups of water and 1 1/2 cups flour and let it ripen for a recipe.  If you continue to feed for more 166% recipes, reduce the water from 1 5/8 cup to 1 1/2 cup.


Because of the use of volumetric measurements I put my advice under a protective disclaimer. ;)

Ron Berg's picture
Ron Berg

The math is what makes my head hurt! :-) Let me see if I've got this right.  If I start with a cup of my starter (lets say about 9 ounces) and add 8 oz. water and 5 oz. (4.8 oz. to be exact) I will eventually end up with 1.66% starter. Is that right or do I still not get it.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I got the feeling those cups went to fluid oz.(still on volume).   Are you using a weight scale or a fluid oz measuring cup?  There are two kinds of ounces and they are different.  Tricky.

Ron Berg's picture
Ron Berg

That is 5 oz. (4.8 oz.) flour.

ryeaskrye's picture
ryeaskrye

To keep a starter at 166%, feedings consist of a 5:3 ratio of water:flour by weight as 5 ÷ 3 = 1.6666...


So a feeding might be 5 oz water to 3 oz of flour, or 10 water and 6 flour. Any multiple of the 5:3 ratio maintains the 166%, so you could multiply by 1.6 and arrive at your 8 oz water and 4.8 oz flour. 


As for what the hydration is of your current starter...it all depends on how you scoop out a cup of flour. As Mini indicates, this can vary wildly, depending on the particular flour, its moisture content and coarseness, and how tightly packed a scoop is. That is why consistency is best achieved through the use of a scale. I once measured out several cups of the same flour and weighed them to get an average. For KAF Organic AP, a cup weighed 122g, Wheatland Organic Whole Wheat was 142g and Hodgson Mill Rye was 139g.


Ignoring minute variations from altitude and temperature, a cup of water is generally accepted to weight 236.6 grams.


Assuming your cup of flour weighs 122g, your starter would be:


1.5 * 122g = 183g


236.6 ÷ 183 = 129.29% hydration.


Given that as a starting hydration, if you mixed 46 grams of your starter with 7.5 grams of water, it would be at 166% hydration.


Alternately, just begin with a small amount of your starter and after several feedings at the 5:3 ratio by weight, it will eventually reach 166% hydration, especially if you discard half for the first several feedings.


 


 


 

Ron Berg's picture
Ron Berg

Thank you to all who responded to my question.  One final question:  Does it really matter that much in the end to the flavor of the finished bread whether one uses a cup of 100% starter or 166% starter as long as one adjusts the flour and water for the final dough?