The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


AnnieT's picture


I don't know what I have done to my sourdough starters (I know, one would be plenty) and I would really appreciate any help or advice. I decided to feed one ready to do some baking this week. They have been languishing in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks since I sent a jar of starter to my friend in Eugene. I had decided one was the runny one and one was the thicker one, but this evening when I tried to stir them they were both more than thick. No hooch on top where 2 weeks ago there was a good 1/4" on each one. It took some effort to stir them and dig out the 1/2cup I was going to replace - long strands, very stretchy. I really don't understand the firm starter concept and would prefer to keep my starter (s) liquid. They smell good and appear to be very healthy, but what the heck did I do to bring on the change in texture? Should I increase the amount of water? Have I created a monster? They are both sitting on the counter and I will watch to see what happens, but our weather is warming up and I want to put them back in the frig. Any ideas, anyone? A


SourdoLady's picture

The long stretchy strands are simply the gluten that is developing as a result of the water absorbing into the flour and the mixture is fermenting. There is nothing wrong with it. A thick starter will not develop hooch like a liquid starter does. It will eventually break down but it takes much longer.

Trishinomaha's picture


My starters (I have two) are the same texture as yours and I also keep them in the fridge between uses. I think it might be the sign of a more mature starter since my are both at least six months old. When I'm ready to bake, I take out the one I want to use feed it and within a couple of hours it's bubbling like mad. I think as long as they smell good you're fine.


bluezebra's picture

More like a very thick starter but not solid by any means. What happens when I take mine out is that it will warm up and rise, then fall. If I leave it 2 hours after the fall I will then get a more liquidy, loose starter consistency but the minute I feed it, it tightens up again. I stir my starter very vigorously during my feedings, several times a day. I just assume it is the gluten strand development as Sourdough Lady said.

It is baking and tasting great, so I haven't been very concerned with it?

Hope this helps.

rcornwall's picture

It could also be dehydration. Food stuff will dry out in the fridge if not covered properly. I keep a tight sealing lid on my starter with a little pin hole in the top for the gases to release pressure. I don't use plastic wrap when I can avoid it. It is too easily moved around.


AnnieT's picture

Many thanks, SourdoLady, Trish, bluezebra and rcornwall for your speedy replies. It was the sudden change that had me worried and second guessing myself. I keep both starters in containers with lids, one plastic with a device you pinch to release the lid and the other glass with a screw on lid. I don't tighten either lid. I do have my own frig back and it is running cooler than the old one, tho' I'm not sure what if any effect that might have. Well, the whole thing is like magic so I'm not going to worry about it. They are both full of bubbles and look as though they could lift mountains! Thanks again, A