The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Starter won’t float

Kogaku's picture

Starter won’t float


 I keep my cultures in fridge until needed. Feed once a week.  I fed yesterday at about 7 pm. Did a float test this morning at 9am. Starter did not float. It’s bubbly and has a good aroma. It did rise & fall overnight. It’s basically a rye starter. What’s up? Guess I can’t bake today!

thanks in advance,


pmccool's picture

I've never trusted the float test, if only because it is so easy to knock the gas out of a ripe levain.  It may be ready but it won't float if spooning it from its container to the water collapses the bubbles. 

If yours is bubbly and smells right, make your bread.  


hreik's picture

Forget the float test.  If your starter is high hydration, it might not float anyhow... Go ahead and bake.


Devoyniche's picture

The float test really only works for the "ripest" starter. Basically there's a period of time where the yeast is growing the most, and it peaks, but before the acid has weakened the dough and the starter falls. Chad Robertson in Tartine uses a "young" starter and that's basically what he's talking about. That said, if it rises and falls, it's probably fine, even if I knock the gas out of a starter, when I add it to water, parts of it will float, and then sink, if you can get some with gas in it, it should float. I think yours is fine.

Kogaku's picture

Many thanks for the kind insights! Collectively most helpful. I didn’t toss the levain. Bake was fine (although I think I overproofed a little).