The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Keeping Two Starters @ Different Hydrations

nickg's picture

Keeping Two Starters @ Different Hydrations

Hey all –


Wanted to try and get some opinions from some of you.

Do you think it's worth keeping two starters at separate hydrations or just convert a few feedings before a bake?

Right now I have one at 80% and another at 100% hydration.

I'm thinking it might be easier–and use less flour–if I only kept my 100% hydration and converted to other hydration levels a few feedings before a bake. 

For example *I think* this would be the right way to convert my 100% over to 80%:

Take 20g of my 100% hydration starter (10g water, 10g flour) and feed it 70g of water and 90g of flour to total 80g of water and 100g flour.

Let me know your thoughts!

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

And you're okay with a single feed then you can convert it with one build.  


  • 20g starter
  • 30g water
  • 40g flour

Oops that's exactly like in your example. But the purpose is you don't have to do more than one build to create a different hydration starter. Do as many builds as you'd normally do. Your example is correct!

The other way round is I keep a 70% hydration starter. It's strong so I only do one build. For every 7g water there's 10g flour. So if I convert to 100% hydration I'd do something like this...

  • 17g starter
  • 43g water
  • 40g flour
nickg's picture

I would most likely give it a few feedings before considering it "fully" converted, but the example I mentioned would be for the first and then would continue with whatever ratio would work in terms of timing moving forward. 

pintolaranja's picture

What about keeping it at the same hydration but offspring with different hydration levels (like preparing a levain) when you need it?

I mean, take a bit from it and feed at new hydration level and build up the amount you will require for baking. The rest, feed as normal and store back.

Not sure it is easier/better, I'm kind of new to this.

nickg's picture


I don't think I made that clear enough in my original post, but that is  exactly what I was thinking too. 

Always keep the 100% hydration starter as my main one and do different builds as needed with varied hydration levels. I think that the math seems easier when you start at 100% knowing your flour and water are always divided equally. 


JeremyCherfas's picture

For what it is worth, I keep two starters, one at 100% and one at 75%, but the first uses wheat flour and the second wholemeal. I tend to maintain the starters as starters and build different leavens, as you and others propose. So for a rye I will use either one and do a couple of feeds with rye at the hydration I want.