The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Firm starter question

Tinabean's picture

Firm starter question

I have good results with my starter, which has a thick pancake batter consistency. What would the percent hydration be for this? I've also seen the term firm starter here quite a bit. What would firm starter look like? How thick is it? I guess I need something to compare it to without getting into a lot of bread math. I need something I can visualize. Thanks!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

AP wheat is rather runny but at the same hydration WW is firm.  Have you looked at any starter videos?  

As the starter ferments it does get "thinner."

With no bread math...  if you double the amount of flour to water volume wise, you come out about even in weight.  or 100% hydration.  roughly speaking.

You can also compare the consistancy to a dough.  Is it about a soft dough 65%?  or a stiff dough 50%?  or a wet dough upwards of 70%?  (That's all AP)

cranbo's picture


IMO firm starter is any starter that is 50-70% hydration. 

Over 70% hydration starter becomes sticky, then goopy, then runny. 

If you feed equal parts flour + water by volume (e.g., 1c. flour + 1c water) you get a very runny, watery starter @ ~188% hydration. This is because 1c flour weighs ~125g and 1c water weighs ~236g. 

If you want to calculate the hydration of your starter you need to know the weight of the ingredients you are using.

I recommend you mix up a few small batches to get the feel: 

100% hydration (sticky/goopy): 50g flour + 50g water

60% hydration (firm): 50g flour + 30g water