The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

100% and 50% Hyd. Starters

CaptainCupcake's picture

100% and 50% Hyd. Starters

HI All,

I am new to Sourdough and have been looking at this site for the last couple days.  I made a starter about 9 days ago. The starter is very active and I can not wait to start making bread. I would just like some clarification on a couple things.  The hydration % of my starters, feeding, and a couple others.  I have read SO many threads and my head is ready to explode!  The following is the recipe for my "Mother" starter:

DAY 1-3

2tbs. ww flour

2tbs water

mix and let sit 24hours

Day 4-6:

Take 1/4c starter(throwing out the rest)

1/4c flour(half ap and ww)

1/4c water

mix and let sit.

Day 7 use.

From what I have read on this site, the starter is at 200% hyd.  Am I correct?  I then took 100gr of starter, water, and flour to make a 100% starter.  Is this correct?  To make the 50% hyd starter would I  take 100gr starter, water, and 200 gr. flour?

Now feeding the starter. If I take out 50gr of 100% starter I should replace it with 50gr. water and flour?   For the 50% starter if I removed 50 gr. starter I would replace 50gr. water and 100gr flour.  (The numbers are just for example other than the recipe for the Mother starter.)

I am looking for a sour Sourdough.  I read JMonkey thread on  getting more sour out of your Sourdough.  One of the tips is using a firm (50%hyd.)starter.  I made a firm starter yesterday and left it on my counter.  I fed it this morning and left it to sit.  How long can I leave it on the counter feeding it once a day?  I plan on making bread with this starter on Tuesday.  I am having a hard time finding recipes using firm starter.  Could anybody suggest a recipe for a white Sourdough using a firm starter?

I am sure I will have a lot more questions not too far down the road. 

Thank you very much for any and all help.

GregS's picture

Welcome Captain! I've certainly struggled with some of the same issues you're having. Let's see if I can help. The hydration formulas are all based on weight, not volume. For example, a 100% refreshment could have say 20 grams of "mother" starter (to seed the growth) then 40grams of water by weight and 40 grams of flour by weight (i.e. the water weight equals 100% of the flour weight).

I note that you are using cup measurements. In that case the weight of, say, a quarter cup of water does not equal the weight of a quarter cup of flour. If I recall correctly the water weighs about 130% (?)as much as the flour.

You only need a small seeding of previous starter. This lets you get rid of any undesirable byproducts from previous fermentations. When you get a vigorous colony of bacilli in your starters, just a bit will grow like crazy when given a good feeding. The 60% starter I use has a 10g starter seed mixed into 25g of water and 45g of flour (note that the water weighs about 60% as much as the flour). When it is feeling good (starters have personalities) it will double in about six hours.

So, I hope that gets you going. If you don't have one, buy a decent scale, capable of measuring both grams and ounces. They aren't too expensive and you'll come to love the convenience and accuracy of weighing rather than measuring. Also check out the starter section in the forums of this site. The issue of sourness is mind-bending, but after all, aren't we doing this for the challenge? Regards, GregS

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I fed it this morning and left it to sit.  How long can I leave it on the counter feeding it once a day?

The starter will be ready when it's ready.  It will swell up and loose it's round shape looking a little squat.  When it does this and you open it, it will be gooey and bubbly inside and cracked on the outside.  Remove some, lets see how much do you need on Tuesday?  Might be rushing it but take, say 20g add 40g water and 80g flour (if this is too stiff, ww being very absorbent, add 10g water). Too dry is also not desired because it will slow down the yeasts a lot.  You want something more like dough. 

Some of us keep this 50% or 60% starter as a mother starter and then use chunks of it to make 100% hydration starters for baking.  Using 10g - 20g to seed 200g starter.  A lot depends on temperature.  Warmer temps naturally speed up fermentation.  A cold starter will ferment slower.

I guess GregS didn't realize you already had a scale.  He's right with the cups and that 1/4 c. recipe leaves one hanging with a feeding that is less than the starter amount... not good.  Always feed (flour) equal or more than the starter amount in weight.