The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Starter Maintenance and Calculations

dlstanf2's picture

Starter Maintenance and Calculations

I've developed a starter that finally produces the desired tanginess for my taste and which also has enough active culture to make a SD Loaf rise. Not wanting to lose this starter has made me take a more active interest in starter maintenance.

My Mother Starter is kept in the refrigerator at a 50% Hydration and fed every two weeks and allowed to activate and double before being returned back to the refrigerator for a slumber. From this starter I made a Daughter, about 100g, and maintained at a 100% Hydration Level, dicarding 50g daily and feeding  with 25g H2O and 25g A-P Flour, which is kept on my counter-top for an easy build to make a quick loaf.

Things were going well untill it got Hot. After almost killing off my Daughter I decided to experiment with different Hydration Levels to adjust for the increased temperatures in my kitchen during this hot weather and also make for a happier environment for my culture.

I've tried both a 75% Hydration Level and a 67% Hydration Level. Either of these work well with increased temperatures. Also, since most of my recipes call for starters at 100% Hydration, I've developed this chart to help adjust Hydration Levels back to the desired 100% Hydration Level.

Hope this helps answers that question of How to adjust Starters. I may have or can build a spreadsheet that can be used for a variety of different hydration level conversions if there are enough requests.

EDIT: If you go away for a few days, put your Daughter Starter in the refrigerator after feeding.

jcamador's picture

This explains so much for me...thank you for posting. I would love to see the spreadsheet :)

Rick D's picture
Rick D

Thanks for taking the time to put this together. exactly what I was looking for.

Only question. Am I bug-eyed from a long day's work or do you have the terms "flour" and "water" reversed in your text below the chart?

ie: for 50% hydration

"33 grams water, 16 grams flour"

Rick D's picture
Rick D

I just figured it out. (conversion TO 100% hydration)

poo poo on me!

alldogz's picture

I am so new to this sourdough stuff and this is perfect...onto the fridge it goes! Curious about your spreadsheet too! What a handy thing to have!!!!

dlstanf2's picture

And the reason I only maintain ~100g of starter on the counter-top is that I'm not baking every day and I do not want to have so much waste while maintaining my colony of yeasties.

Daily I remove 1/2 the starter (~50g) and replenish with fresh flour and water to the desired hydration I want.

~28 grams equals 1 oz. of flour


bakerjane's picture

Your description is the MOST descriptive, and understandable, of any this new baker has read, about SD maintenance! I'm very grateful for your clear and concise instructions-thank you.