The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough stopped rising

meadmakrmikey's picture

Sourdough stopped rising

I have a starter from King Arthur that I have maintained for about 10 months.  I have refreshed it intermittently, with equal parts of AP flour and bottled water, and a 1/2 -1 cup of starter.  It then sits at room temp for about 2 hours, and  I then refrigerate it, and bring it to room temp before the next feeding.  Bubbles form during the rise in temp from the refrigerator, but it BARELY rises, and this has been progressive for about 3 months.  The flavor is there, but it seems that the "yeast" part of the starter is gone.  Any suggestions?


Ford's picture

What exactly are the ratios of starter:flour:water?  I use S:F:W::1:1:1 by weight.  Otherwise, I use the same procedure as you for maintenance..


Ambimom's picture

Sourdough needs consistency.  I bake 2 loaves every 10 days or so which means my starter gets fed every 10-14 days.  It is refrigerated between bakes.  I, too, have KA starter.  Mine has been kept alive for 4 years so far.  You can bring yours back to life.  It would help if you got yourself a scale instead of measuring cups to measure by weight instead of volume, but it's not absolutely necessary.

Start in the morning because this will take some time.

Feed your starter, but instead of putting it back in the refrigerator after a period of time.  Feed it again after a couple of hours.  Discard  the amount you just fed it a couple of hours ago, and feed it again.  Do this again and again until you observe your starter coming back to life.  

In other words, follow the same instructions you got from KA when you first got your starter.  

My own feeding routine is to discard 300 grams (by weight on scale) and feed 150 grams AP flour and 150 grams plain old filtered tap water (measured by weight on scale).  (My sourdough bread recipe calls for 290 grams of sourdough for two loaves, hence the 300 gram feed.)

DavidEF's picture

All starters are different. Mine doesn't really like the fridge (or maybe it likes the fridge too much). It doesn't want to wake up for a long time after being refrigerated. So, during times when I'm not baking as much, and my starter is kept in the fridge, I refresh it once a week, but I leave it out at room temperature, and feed it twice before it goes back in. So, I get it out, feed it, let it sit 12 hours, feed it again, then put it back in the fridge. I also don't let it sit out after feeding, unless I'm going to keep it out through another whole cycle. If it's going in the fridge, it goes straight away. Actually, the way you described your taking it out, feeding, leaving out for a couple hours, then refrigerating again, it doesn't seem to me long enough to expect a lot of rising. If it's rising even a little, it is probably doing well.

Ratios might need to be checked too, as Ford suggested. If you aren't getting much activity, it may well be that you are either under-feeding or over-feeding the starter. The yeast will be less active in the fridge, so they don't need as much to eat. Unless you've done something really bad, like using chlorinated water in your starter or something, you should still have yeast there, though they may be diluted if they are being overfed, or if they need more time out of the fridge than what they are getting. Try leaving it out several hours after feeding. If it rises a little, but not much, leave it several more hours. You can probably leave it out as long as it takes to double, whatever that is, then feed again and put in the fridge.

As a last resort, if nothing else works, follow the instructions from KA, like Ambimom suggested.

meadmakrmikey's picture

Thank you both so much.  I will try as you suggest, and let you know either way.

Mike Acord

dabrownman's picture

when it comes to SD.  Recent research points out that at least half the CO2 production and rise in sourdough  breads is due to the Labs and not the yeast.  In the future, it might be that the best SD starters won't have yeast at all.  Sounds like you are a trend setter.