The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Beginner with an active starter... Next steps

Dan Barclay's picture
Dan Barclay

Beginner with an active starter... Next steps

Hi Guys

I am completely new to the world of sourdough but have been baking fairly regularly for a few months now. I have an active starter which doubles between feeds (in about six hours) and have made a few loafs so far which, as far as I can tell, have been fairly successful. However the starter is only about 600g at its peak, so can really only make one loaf each time. I was wondering how I go about increasing the size of the starter without over feeding it. I tried adding more flour/water without discarding any to bake but it didn't double at all so thought perhaps I added too much.

Any help would be much appreciated. 



cranbo's picture

Hi Dan,

Can you explain what "600g at its peak" means? 

Maybe you can describe your feed schedule and recipes. Most recipes only between 5-50% of starter in relation to the flour weight, so by my calculations, for a recipe which uses 500g of flour, you should only need ~250g of starter, so 600g of active starter should be plenty for 2 loaves and 100g leftover starter for feeding/maintenance.

To increase the size of your starter (for example, 600g of your active starter), just feed it at least 300g of flour and 300g of water, and in about 4-6 hours it will be ready to use. Overfeeding shouldn't be a problem in this case. 



Dan Barclay's picture
Dan Barclay

Sorry should have been clearer. When its peaked I've been removing 300g of starter for 500g of flour and i'm left with roughly half the starter (therefore I guessed around 300g left giving 600g in total). I should be using less starter then which would definitely help me get another loaf. When would be the best time to add the 300g of flour and water? After I have removed 500g for two loaves or do I not have to remove any?

Thanks very much for your answer!

Dan Barclay's picture
Dan Barclay

Forgot to say I have been adding about 150g flour and water every feed (twice a day)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

If you go by a very familiar ratio recipe known as 1-2-3 sourdough.  Start with one part of starter, say 300g.  Multiply that by 2 for the water amount, 600g.  Multiply by 3 for flour amount, gives 900g.  Then figure salt for the flour amount (starter flour +900g) 1.6 to 2%.  Very easy to remember.

If 500g flour makes one loaf and you would like two loaves...  1000 g flour ÷ 3 = 334 g  Start out with 334g of starter, 668g water (hold back just a small amount and see how your dough is coming together.)   Figuring 1167g total flour,  2% salt amount is  23g.

Try it!   You can search the site for more articles on 1,2,3 sourdough