The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Starter is sluggish after refresh

dvuong's picture

Starter is sluggish after refresh

Hello everyone,

I have a fairly new starter, about a month old, that I've been keeping in the fridge for a week.  I took it out of the fridge on Wednesday to refresh with the hopes of baking with it this weekend.  When I took it out of the fridge, there was a layer of hooch that I just stired down.  After feeding, it is not doubling as quickly as it was before I stuck it in the fridge.  I'm keeping it at 100% hydration and am feeding it 1:1:1.  It has been almost 10 hours and it's only risen about 50%.  The house is on the cooler side, ~68 Degrees F.  Is this normal behavior?  I hope I haven't killed it.

Daisy_A's picture

Yep, it's normal. Yeast production would slow down while the starter was in the fridge. Once on the bench again yeasts would also reproduce more slowly at 68F than at higher temperatures.

Try feeding more frequently and at a higher ratio - say 1:2:3 or 1:3:4 for a while. You can always draw off some starter and feed it 1:1:1 f you need 100% hydration for a recipe.

You could also give your starter some additional heat. Either put it in a warmer part of your house, such as the top of the fridge or on a flat heat-resistant surface next to a bowl of warm water, with a cloth or clear plastic bag or inverted storage box covering both. Might be worth warning the household if the latter to avoid spillage!

Your starter may need strengthening but you are unlikely to have killed it - they are strong critturs...


Kind regards, Daisy_A