The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


MTDreams's picture


Greetings fellow bread enthusiast!  This is my first day on the site.  You're comments have been helping me for a couple of years, so I finally joined.  Thank you all.

I started a brand new Rye Starter.:  50gr Rye/50Gr Montana Wheat AP/50gr water.

On day two I found that the cat had spilled my [admittedly poorly placed] bag of Rye.

Therefore I had to feed with all AP on the second a.m.

I bought more Rye and made a 50/50 Rye and AP mix for the next morning.

Using - 50gr of the 50/50 mix - 50gr of previous days starter and 50gr water - My starter only rose, about a third as high as it rose yesterday with the AP only.

Should I be feeding only AP?  Am I correct to keep making a Rye mix?

I live in Montana but it's a hot summer and my kitchen is 71 degrees at the time of feeding (8am).

So should I switch to AP only?  Do I just need to wait it out for real activity?  Should I change anything?

Thanks, again, and in advance!



Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

50% hydration starter?

It's fine but more difficult to judge in this early stage. Lower hydration starters tend to be slower than high hydration starters too.

I would have made one at 100% hydration and when viable convert it to 50% hydration.

If you're doing it this way I would keep warm and feed once every 24 hours until you see a significant increase between each feed. When your starter picks up then pick up your feedings.

Sorry but I think I misunderstood your post. Might have been a typo but I see your starter is not actually 50% hydration.

So everyday you keep 50g starter and feed it 50g water + 50g flour. Now on day 3 you see your starter slowing down. This is perfectly normal. Starters do have a quiet stage normally by days 4-5. The trick is - if after you feed it you see that your starter has gone quiet then keep warm, skip a feed or two (or even three), instead just give it a stir every now and again. When you see your starter begin to pick up then start your feedings again. Then when you see your starter getting quicker and stronger then give it even bigger feeds and if it needs it then increase the times you feed it as well. You should find that it'll begin to bubble up more and quicker once you get over this quiet stage. So keeping warm and carefully timed feedings is the key. You can use any flour but wholegrain is good for the starter so try and get some in there.

MTDreams's picture

Thank you Lechem for the swift reply.

I'm still a newbie to this.  Can you help me with your comments on the hydration level?

Should I be using more water?  I am just blindly following what I read online... 

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

"I started a brand new Rye Starter.:  50gr Rye/50Gr Montana Wheat AP/50gr water".

50g rye + 50g Montana wheat AP = 100g flour : 100g flour + 50g water = 50% hydration (this will make a stiff dough)

"Using - 50gr of the 50/50 mix - 50gr of previous days starter and 50gr water - My starter only rose, about a third as high as it rose yesterday with the AP only".

Then you keep 50g starter and feed it 50g flour + 50g water. So your feed is 100% hydration.


Hydration goes by weight. 1:1 water:flour by weight! is 100% hydration. To work out the hydration when the weight is different then simply do the following...

Weight of water divided by weight of flour then x 100.

Not really important at this stage when creating a starter as all you're doing is cultivating the yeasts and good bacteria. Eyeballing it and making a paste is fine. But still good practice and helps when you haven't done it before. Later on when making a sourdough bread (or any bread) it's good to know to understand formulas, tables and how much starter is going into the loaf etc.

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

How to make a sourdough starter

There is a lot of info out there and it is confusing. I remember this stage only too well. My main advice to you is to keep your starter warm and have patience. Don't over think it and unless you do something really wrong it'll work.


phaz's picture

Those ratios are probably the most used (100% hydration), no problem there. As mentioned is normal for a new starter to slow down after a couple 3 days, add to that the new food (ap flour), and I can see it slowing. No problem though, it should pick up again after a few days. Feed when it rises and stops, then stir well. If it doesn't rise after the stir, feed (it's low or out of food). If it keeps rising after the stir, hold off on the feed (there's still enough food available). Oh, what you feed it isn't as important as how much you feed it and when. How much it needs depends on how much you use and how often. When to feed it depends on when it runs out of food. There's a lot of leeway there, so don't worry about it to much. As always, have fun!

MTDreams's picture

Thank you all for your input!!!