The Fresh Loaf

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Which sourdough recipe to use?

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Scarlet Jester's picture
Scarlet Jester

Which sourdough recipe to use?

Hello all.

I as many on here, are new to home baking. I have am very fond of Rugbord bread and living In the UK, it is virtually impossible to buy off the shelf. As such I am pretty determined to make it myself, have found a recipe, have bought all the necessary ingredients but am stuck on what method to use to make my sourdough starter.

So far I have tried two methods, the first being created around a methodology of approximately 2:1 water to flour. After 5 days of feeding my mixture had a good quantity of bubbles but had not increased in volume at all. The second was the lower quantity jar method with a base of 1:1 and after day 3 removing approximately 66% of the mixture before feeding and repeating this to day 5. With this method (although I did not go to the full 5 days) the volume of starter increased substantially - over two times in size.

My dilemma is that I need around 200g of starter for my recipe and I am unsure of the following:

  • Should method 1 rise or just bubble? How do you know if it has succeeded or not?
  • Method 2 clearly works well but will not create anywhere enough starter for my recipe. How do I overcome this shortfall in quantity when actually making the bread?

Many thanks in advance.

lepainSamidien's picture

I would imagine that the first one was too hydrated to really get a good rise . . . although CO2 was being created in your mixture, it probably could not really make much of a show because of all the water. 2:1 water:flour is an extremely high hydration (effectively, 200%), and one that I haven't seen recommended before. The highest hydration I've seen recommended is 125% (5:4 water:flour), though I'm sure some have gone higher. But I don't know with how much luck.

In order to create more starter, only a little math is required. So let's say you need 200g of starter. Très bien. What I would do if I were making your bread, is that I would measure out 40 g of your mature starter, and 80 g each of flour and water.

40 g starter + 80 g water + 80 g flour = 200 g levain

This would be a 1:2:2 (starter:water:flour) ratio, which is pretty standard, though you're not going to get much of a sour punch from it (not to say it won't be flavorful!).

And these are certainly not hard, fast limits; you can feel free to use more starter, more water, and more flour if you want to conserve a piece of the levain to use in the future.

Scarlet Jester's picture
Scarlet Jester

Thanks lepainSamidien.

Here are two high water recipes I found:

This one recommends a little less than 2:1

The recipe I am using for the Rugbord has around 50% non-flour ingredients in the form of cracked rye and linseed. Would this make any difference to the ratios you mention or are you suggesting that this effectively becomes my sourdough base from which to make my final loaf?


108 breads's picture
108 breads

I use the second method you mentioned - with one big exception. I do not throw away any starter when I feed it. I just feed it and let it build until there is a little more than enough to start the next dough.

After, I use the little bit of starter remaining, sometimes as little as 10g, and I begin to build again. I hate to throw away good starter and this always works.

Scarlet Jester's picture
Scarlet Jester

That is interesting.

I thought exactly the same thing too and after day 3 and a very successful doubling in size, I added 30g more rye and 30ml of water and it pretty much killed it – next 24 hours there was nothing, not even a bubble. These starters seem very fickle!  


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

was caused from bacteria and not yeast.  What temperature is the starter?  

PetraR's picture

I started my Rye Starter with 30g of rye flour and 30g warm water and did nothing but stiring it * each time for 20-30 seconds* 3 times a day.

I did this for 3 Days.

On day 4 I added 30g of rye flour and 30g of warm water, stired well.

On day 5 I took out half the Starter and fed with 30g rye flour and 30g warm water...

My Rye Starter is fed 1:1:1 , in my case 30g Starter fed with 30g rye flour and 30g warm water.

He lives now in the fridge, is fed once a week , when I want to bake I take him out the Morning before baking day and feed him every 2 Times so that I have a strong starter to leaven my bread.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

of the two mentioned and would thicken it up so it can rise.  Taking 20g off the bottom of it and adding 80g fresh rye flour and 80g water.  (25°C)  The 5 day thinner starter would have most likely fermented more than the more recent thicker one.  

Those bubbles were a good sign if the new starter was smelling yeasty.  A rise in a thin mixture of flour and water is impossible to get.  Stick a straw into your starter and blow some air into it, does it rise?  If not, the mixture is too thin to trap gas bubbles and rise.  Thicken it up with flour if you want to see a rise.