The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

When is the best time to use sourdough starter after refreshing?

Mira's picture

When is the best time to use sourdough starter after refreshing?


When is the best time to incorporate my sourdough starter for baking bread after I've refreshed it?  Do I wait until it's doubled or can I use it a couple of hours after I've refreshed it?  I use 100% hydration and I last refreshed it yesterday evening at 9 pm.

Thanks in advance from a newby!


LindyD's picture

Hi Mira,

For the best results your sourdough starter should be at its peak. Here's a great photo by professional baker Dan DiMuzio showing three types of ripe starters


yozzause's picture

Hi Mira

Welcome to TFL

The best time to use your starter is as it is peaking, which is also the time you would usually refresh the brew. The culture that you add to the dough will have plenty of fresh food from the flour that is part of the dough formula. the bit you save needs to be fed and put aside. A really active culture will be requiring a feed twice or even three times a day.

Regards Yozza

ppschaffer's picture

Hi Mira: in the past I would have agreed strongly with yozzause and LindyD.  I used to carefully wait until the starter was, by all appearances, well "refreshed" before using the starter to make a loaf.  My approach now is hapharzard--with no noticeable negative change.  I have used "unrefreshed" starter directly from the refrigerator with very successful results.  The only difference that I am able to discern is: cold, "unfreshed" starter takes longer to act on the dough.  Have fun!

Mira's picture

Thank you for your replies, especially the Dan DiMuzio link:)