The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help! trying to start a starter!

longneckthree's picture

Help! trying to start a starter!

I have never baked with sourdough before, but decided to try.  Last Friday I started with a 1 to 1 ratio of water and flour. I fed it every 24 hours for 4 days then when there were large bubbles on top I switched to every 12 hours.  I still have large bubble on top but nothing else.  Am I not patient enough?  I live in Massachusetts and our house is a little cold.



Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Starters do hit a quiet period and this is your cue to slow down. Keep warm, skip a feed or two, stir and feed again when you see more activity.  

law_and_loaf's picture

when feeding your starter, are you discarding half of the old starter?  after the first couple days this is important..

in reality you probably just need more time.  I've played around with starters for years, and though I'm no pro I can tell you that the starters that are unfortified ( IE nothing but flour and water ) take longer. maybe a couple weeks.  I don't think the temp is making much difference, you can build a starter in the fridge if you want, it just takes longer. 

some people use different things to kickstart, like sugars, or juice, or wheat flours, or diastatic malt, etc etc.  Peter Reinhart suggests making raising water.  eventually though you still end up with just flour and water, so you don't really need those things, but they will speed up the process a bit.  

frankly it doesn't sound like anything is wrong with yours. you might just need some more time.

SeattleStarter's picture

You might find it interesting to read THIS or THIS.

pattyswildbread's picture

I have a very cool house in the winter and a very warm house in the summer.

This makes all the difference in how long my starter takes to be ready to use.

Now that it's fall and my house temp is around 68 degrees F, I put a large mug of water in my microwave and heat it to boiling. Then I set my starter in there with it. This makes a nice warm place for my starter to be ready in 5 or so hours instead of overnight. 

This warmth might encourage your new starter to get the move on. 

I'm always learning, learning, learning, but... I use 244g of AP starter to make 2 loaves - so I use about 50g of old starter and mix (approx) 122g of warm water and 122g of AP flour. This has come to work for me so well. 

I just posted my first recipe and would love to have feedback from anyone who tries it. 
I love The Fresh Loaf!

longneckthree's picture

I guess I'll just wait longer and read more while I wait.

jiannabakes's picture

Hi all, 

So I am also starting my first ever sourdough starter but its been over 5 days now and it is only bubbling a little bit and not rising up that much. I've been feeding it everyday but it is not rising. It has gotten pretty cold where I'm living and my kitchen temperature is probably in the 50's-60 at night now. Please let me know if anyone has any advice!