The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Is my starter ready for baking?

liseling's picture

Is my starter ready for baking?


So I've built my starter using the pineapple juice method that is posted in various places around the fresh loaf (100% flour/water). I've been feeding it twice a day most days for the past two weeks or so. The picture below is of my starter about an hour and a half after I fed it (the rubber band marks the level that it started from right after I fed it). It doubles in about 2 hours. I have seen it get to about 3 times the level of the rubber band at most. 

Is it ready to bake with?

Any words of wisdom for me before trying my first sourdough loaf?

Also, regarding having it live in the fridge once it's ready: do I refresh then put it directly in the fridge, or refresh then wait a while before putting it in the fridge? If I wait, then how long? And how do I get it ready for baking again once it's been in the fridge for a week or two? 



JessicaT's picture

I waited until my starter was consistent with tripling in size every 3-4 hours after feeding before I baked it. I did this to ensure thaat I got the most amount of sour as possible and boy was it awesome!


As for refridgerating, what I like to do is feed the starter and maximize in size and then stick it in the fridge. I have no idea why, but it seems to be working ok.

Yerffej's picture

From your description, yes the starter is ready.  As for advice on your first sourdough baking experience just remember the three most important elements of sourdough bread: Patience, patience, and patience.  Watch the dough not the clock.

With regard to the fridge, feed it and put it in there without waiting if it is going to rest for a week or two.  When you take it out I would give it three feedings before baking with it.


davidg618's picture

go for it.

I keep my starters in the fridge. I feed them weekly, and return them immediately to the fridge. I've developed a method to grow formula ready levain in twenty-four hours. Here's the link. It works, every time, for me.

Building a Formula-ready levain (starter)

David G.

liseling's picture

Thanks everyone - I've started the process of making Peter Reinhart's basic sourdough from BBA and the dough is now doing it's first proof as I write this. I hope it works out! Although now I'm more worried about things going wrong from shaping techniques and things like that. When I first tried making sourdough bread a long time ago I always  got flat and tough results. This time I'm being a bit more methodical about the starter so I hope the bread will be better this time.


David your post about starter elaboration straight out of the fridge is really helpful information! I'm going to try your method next time I take the starter out of the fridge.