The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


xyz123's picture



I'm new to the forum. I have been baking "normal" bread for a few months from 2 Paul Hollywood books.

I'm following this recipe

I started my culture 2 evenings ago in an airtight kilner jar and the culture is now nearly filling the jar and really frothy. I'm not sure what to do with it as another day to go and worried it may explode or something! Do I rehome and continue waiting another day or could it be ready for the next step? This morning it was halfway up the jar with the odd bubble. I'm not sure if I will contaminate it opening the jar for too long.

It is hot for the UK. Normally my cultures/breads don't rise that much.

Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

Not a good idea to use an airtight jar, esp when you apparently have a very vigorous starter. So open the jar immediately and use clingfilm over the top instead of the kilner lid.

Sounds as if your starter is very ready to be fed again. Since it has been so hot, you can shorten the timeframes. Every step in the sourdough process is very temperature dependent.

WoodenSpoon's picture

I would add that if you are only two days into starting a brand new culture then the activity you are seeing is probably a false start with non helpful bacteria flourishing before fermentation begins. if this is the case then activity should die down soon then start back up in a couple few more days.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

If you are using a screw top, you can just loosen it a bit, or use a paper towel in place of the medal disc and screw the ring over the paper towel.

I'd consider opening it while placing it in the sink, and wearing gloves on the off chance that the jar might break from being under pressure.

PetraR's picture

I did the Paul Hollywood Sourdough Starter with green Grapes and it worked fine.

I started it in the Spring 2013 so it was not as hot as it is now.

What I would do is, to open the jar and stir the starter down and close it again.

Soon you should be feeding it for the first time anyways so you discard half and feed as per Paul Hollywoods instructions.

You will be fine, do not panik, you wont kill your starter by opening it a bit to stir it down:)

Make sure it is not in direct sunlight and not to hot where you keep it.

xyz123's picture

Thank you for all your help.

I've divided and fed into a new bigger sterile jar with clingfilm and a loose lid. Not before time as it reached the top and started oozing out of the now loosened lid while I was buying and sterilising a new jar.

I've realised it doesn't say keep in an airtight jar anywhere but in the pictures it is in a kilner- style jar that looks closed. The jar is bigger but doesn't grow as much. 

doughooker's picture

Heed WoodenSpoon's post. After 2 days it's fool's gold. It takes a week and a few days for a starter to fully ripen.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

A wheat starter should have 4 to 5 times the starter volume for expansion in the jar.  Make sure the starter occupies less than one forth of the jar's volume and it should be all right.  If the expansion is more than 4 times the starter volume more than likely it is bacterial growth and not yeast, yet.  Unless it smells strongly of beer, I wouldn't rush to overfeed the starter or worry about it.  Pouring some starter out to reduce the overall amount might be wise to keep it from invading the rest of the kitchen.  Setting a plate or bowl under the jar might also help.  

Bacterial activity is often followed by a day or two of no obvious activity.  Now is the time for patience and minimal feeding if at all.  Don't rush the starter and as long as the temps are 75°F - 80°F you can just about ignore it or beat in some air into the starter to encourage yeast.   Skipping a feeding is better than feeding more flour at this point in starter growth.