The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sour Dough Starter

bobkay1022's picture

Sour Dough Starter

The starter is almost like water last few times I have used it. Each time I thought it would not do as it is supposed to but after over night to develop a sponge it was bubbly and had grown a little. I baked with it and had a good loaf of bread.

If I use  1 cup I replace with 1 cup of water and 1 cup of flour. Stir with a wooden spoon and let it sit on the counter for 24 hrs  before I put it in the refrigerator for next use.  

I wanted to make bread again and yesterday I looked at my starter and it had as normal a lot of hooch on it plus quite liquid form starter. I normaly stir the hooch right back into the starter and then use what ever I need and replace as above.

After sitting last night the spounge really did not do much. not the great amount of bubble I am used to seeing. plus it did not seem to have done much as far as rising.

My starter I added to when I took out the 1 cup now seems like it is weak or has run out of food when I look at it this am.

I do not smell a unpleasant odor . It just is very much like water with a flour color. 

The directions for the starter was what I have follower and I weigh with a scale per instructions every time.  I could ????? add more flour but that would change my hydration level if I am correct.

Any ideas.  I do not think the starter is bad it just acts hungry.


BobS's picture

It sounds hungry to me. You say you remove one cup and replace it with a cup of water and cup of flour, but not how much total starter you have. It there is already a lot of starter you may not be replenishing it with enough food.

When my starter looks like that (tired, watery, hung over) I discard most of it, and feed it in 1:2:2 proportion. That is, one part (by weight) starter, 2 parts water, 2 parts flour. Sometimes it takes a couple of feedings to get it back to its old self.





bobkay1022's picture

Hi Bob.

     I can try that it as you say should work. It has been very good uo intillmy last 2 bakes. I just look at the batch I have going now. It has been around 2 hrs of proofing at it has almost doubled. I did not expoect to see any at all but looks like it is doing some thing . Will know more ina 1/2 hour or so when i dump it on the board to make two loaves as usual.

Thanks      Oh my last intail is s also S   for BobS    quite a coincidence


placebo's picture

In your post you say you feed one cup each of water and flour but then later you say you weigh your ingredients. Are you feeding equal weights or equal volumes? If you are in fact feeding equal volumes of water and flour, that's a really wet starter. Some of the "hooch" is probably just the flour settling out of the suspension.

Either way, you should probably feed it twice a day. Also, I'm not sure why you leave it on the counter to run through its entire food supply before sticking it into the fridge.

bobkay1022's picture

Hello placebo

Light on the wall. Just dawned on me after reading your post.  I was pouring each time into a measuring cup a cup and then measuring with a scale to replace. That might be where I have lost the strengh of the starter.  I have done 2 starters for SD. This the first one from a Alaskan Cook Book for SD Bread and starters  where it said leave out on the counter for 24 hours after feeding and then put in the refrigerator. That has worked ok till I started to lose consistency.

My first line about usage might be the problem.



linder's picture


If you are using 1 cup of water and 1 cup of flour, the hydration level on your starter will be 166%, and it will be soupy.  That being said, there are lots of recipes I've seen using 166% hydration starter on  

If you refresh your starter by weight rather than volume and add equal weights of flour and water you'll get a 100% hydration starter, a lot less soupy. 

For myself, I keep my whole wheat starter pretty stiff - about 50-60% hydration, because I like a more pronounced sour flavor in my breads.  When it's time to bake, I take about 40g of the whole wheat starter and build whatever type and hydration of starter is required for the recipe I want to bake, then proceed with the recipe/formula to build the necessary levain.  It's an extra step but I find this way I have to keep only one starter going instead of separate ones for each type of bread I want to bake.

Sourdough baking is a  journey.


bobkay1022's picture

Wow  what a site.Sure a lot of intersting info and more things to try

Thank you soooooooooo much. My 2 lb loaf I am baking should be ready as soon as the top gets brown. Baked with my Romertoph Baker. With the starter in question  I cannot believe how much it grew. I thought I was dead in the water.

Will do a pix later.


dabrownman's picture

spot on.  If you feed the starter by volume then 1 C of flour and  1/2 C of water is plenty.  That would be a little less than 100% hydration.  Your starter will love you and perform better with more sour too.  IF you want to refrigerate it then take it down to 60% or so with flour only and hour before to put it to sleep in the fridge.

Happy baking

bobkay1022's picture

Thanks for the up dates. The bread looks out standing  considering what I thought was going to be a complete failure. We was invited for dinner with a group and wanted to let them have the pleasure of some H M Bread . When I had doubts it would come out ok I bakes 3 loaves of Ciabatta Bread that has always been a hit. Now the SD Loaf looks like it will be ok. A 2 lb loaf.   I  said to my self if it does not come out ok will feed the birds again.    But I do not think the birds will get this one. LOL




Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

before refrigerating.  Perhaps two days is better.  

What temp is the kitchen?