The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Revival and Dilemmas

DoubleMerlin's picture

Sourdough Revival and Dilemmas


My sourdough starter has been acting up the past couple of months, having become incredibly proteolytic. It has been taking about 4 hours to double, but by the time it's doubled, the gluten has essentially dissolved, leaving me with flat, dense loaves.

To remedy this, I brought out my back-up starter from back in November when my loaves were beautiful. It revived very quickly in my current average 80˚F weather.

I have yet to bake a loaf with the newly revived starter, letting it acclimate before seeing what it can do. My big question is: do I abandon the other starter, the one that has been kept continuously since September (and given to me with a claimed age of 13 years)? If it has become this proteolytic, will it stay that way? The breads I've made with it recently have had a real nice sour, slightly cheesy flavor, but they're consistently too dense and flat.

I realize the top priority is to make a loaf with the revived starter, but what do I do from there? Should I mix the two to try to get the best of both? Or will I just end up with the worst of each?


golgi70's picture

Maybe if you built a stiff starter you could revive it and prolong it's life.  What is the seed:flour ratio when you feed it?  Maybe you just need to reduce the inoculation with the warm weather?  I've yet to have a starter die on me but I've brought a few back to life (other's cultures that were neglected).  My understanding though is this tends to happen more often with liquid starters than stiff starters.  How much scientific backing there is for this????  Worst case scenario you got a new culture (or another culture) that is alive and well.  Just be sure to make a new backup.

Hope this helps and you can bring it back to good health


aroma's picture

I wouldn't be too concerned with the claimed age as by now that starter will be unique to your environment.  Why not try a new starter based on rye - they are so much easier to maintain and can be converted to whatever flour you want.


doughooker's picture

It might be a fun experiment to pick up a cheap pH meter (and calibration solution) and measure the pH of your starter. It might reveal something; it might not.

WoodenSpoon's picture

I would reduce the heck out of your inoculation, also how are you keeping it/feeding it?