The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Stiff Starter Mainenance

golgi70's picture

Stiff Starter Mainenance

So its really easy to feed a starter @ 100%.  Just half water and half flour and your inoculation at the rate you desire.  

But what is a simple math formula for maintaining a stiff starter?  I've heard one in the past but can't recall it.  I mostly maintain @ 100% and if I desire build a stiff levain from it. But it would be nice to know this so if I have a levain @ 60% hydration and want to build it I don't have to break down the numbers.  


Any help here greatly appreciated



dabrownman's picture

100% is the flour and the variable X is the water hydration which varies. If you want 200 g of starter total that is at 62% hydration just divide the 200 g total amount by 1.62 (100% flour +.62% water) gives you 123.5 g which is the flour amount and 200 - 123.5 =76.5 water  To check 76.5 /123.5 = 62% hydration.

Happy Calculating Josh

mwilson's picture

Go 50%, then you get that same simplicity. Feed always half water to flour by weight. From this you can say that your starter consists of 2/3 flour and 1/3 water by weight.

golgi70's picture

Thats a great way to keep it easy mwilson but for the sake of being able to choose any hydration without having to work too hard on the math the formula is nice.

So what I've conjured is such:


Total Levain Desired - Seed (if at same hydration desired for finished levain) = A

A divided by (100% flour + desired hydration %) = Flour Needed

Flour need divided by A = Water needed.  



200 g Levain Desired - 40 g Seed (@ 60% hydration) = 160

160 / 1.6 = 100 (flour)

160 - 100 = 60  (h20)


Now what if the seed was different from what your final hydration desired?  Is there is a simple way to calculate that?  Or would you just figure your whole needed as you did above and subtract equal parts flour and water based on the seed you intend to use?