The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help with very active sourdough starter

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Help with very active sourdough starter

I've been following S J Ross' sourdough baking 101,and am amazed at the activity my starter has achieved after 24hrs.

It's June 27th 2010,I live in Cairns Qld.Australia and the daytime temp. is about 27 deg C (80 deg F).I combined 1cup of light rye flour with 1 cup of lukewarm water and placed it in a glass jar.It doubled in size within 24hrs.I removed half of the initial mix,then added 1/2 cup of light rye flour and 1/2 cup of lukewarm water.I had to place this new mix into a larger jar for fear of an explosion in the kitchen!!!!! 6hrs into the first 'feed',and it's doubled in size and very frothy,in fact full of bubbles throughout.What I want to know is can I use my starter now without refrigeration,or do I have feed again and then refrigerate,to be able to use successfully?

mrfrost's picture

The activity in the first day or so is generally not due to yeast but some kind of bacteria. It usually takes another 2 or three days for this bacteria to die off and the yeasts to become more populated.

How does it smell? Somewhat "off"(bacteria, bad), or more fruity(good)?

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Thanks mrfrost for your reply.I'd say 'more fruity',as to the smell,but having read

I realise I'm not alone here,but has anyone used their starter when it's been bubbling away,and what were the results!!

Ho Dough's picture
Ho Dough


Starter on the left is an established starter. The one on the right is pictured somewhere between 24 and 48 hours after mixing spring water with an equal volume of all purpose white flour. This was a test to see what kind of starter I would get from plain old white flour. It took off and was going gang busters......smelled great.....looked even better......then started looking like this.......then fell and never got up. It went grave yard dead, and stayed that way for 4 more days, at which time I chucked it. Experiment over.


One day is a bit soon to even think of baking anything with a starter. The first set of bubbles are just a ruse. Case in point:


This was the initial false "rise". A bacteria bloom that gets one excited, but as usually the case, it then went dead, only to come back to life 2 or 3 days later. The real stuff you want to use won't show up for several days to perhaps a week.