The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How do I know when my starter ha peaked?

Ittayd's picture

How do I know when my starter ha peaked?

I have a slow starter and read that I need to let it peak and then reduce and feed again until it's peak time is shorter. But how do  I know it has peaked? When it doubles? 

Does it matter what ratio I'm feeding it? Should it double reagrdless of whether the ratio is 1:1:1, 1:2:2 or 1:3:3?


pmccool's picture

100% hydration, doubling may or may not correspond with the peak.  Look for a lot of bubbles and expansion.  If you can track the expansion by marking a piece of tape on the side of the container every hour or so, you'll have a very good idea when it stops moving upward.  That is when it is at its peak.  The surface will go from looking somewhat domed in profile to displaying creases or dimples on top.  That indicates that the starter, having reached peak, is just starting to deflate.


Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Smells of flour and water - immature

Has a nice aroma - mature

Alcoholic - over mature, needs a feed (still good but it'll make a tangy loaf) 

Acrylic - needs feeding asap! 

raceceres's picture

My starter is more than 2 weeks old but it's pretty sluggish and takes a long time to peak. I use a ratio of 1:1:1 with 30% rye and 70% bread flour with filtered water, it takes 10 hours to peak at room temp of 82-86F. Usually it smells really sweet when it starts to collapse. Seems to be really slow in peaking at such warm temp. Any help will be great. Thanks!