The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


bake-orion's picture


Hi everyone

Im having trouble with my sourdough starter. I got a 1/2 cup from a friend and he said to add 1cup each of water and flour. And it was to double in size and get bubbley, but mine is the same as it was when I started, with small bubbles. I feed it for a week still nothing. I'm ready to pitch it.


SourdoLady's picture

Was the starter active and bubbly when he gave it to you? Do you know if it was made with commercial yeast or if it is wild yeast? Try thickening it up a little--less water/more flour. Keep it in a warm place--upper 70's to 80 degrees, until it gets active.

bwraith's picture


When you combine 1 cup of water with 1 cup of flour, the consistency will be very thin. It may not rise much, but it should form a lot of foam when it is done fermenting. You would need to feed about once every 12 hours for a few feedings to make the starter become very healthy. Temperature very much affects how long it will take to bubble up. Temperatures between 70-80 are good. Below that, it will take a long time but work OK. You can kill the starter with temperatures much above 85F.

You can try the following, which may or may not work, but it's worth a try and easy. It also uses smaller quantities of water and flour.

Take 2 tsp of starter, add 2 tbsp water, and about 3.5 tbsp flour. Stir into a thick paste and leave in a covered container at room temperature. See how this goes. Note how long it takes to rise by double and what temperature prevails during the rise. You may need to repeat this process every 12 to 24 hours a few times to bring it to life. Ideally feed it after it has doubled, reached a peak, and collapsed, but at least every 24 hours.


Bushturkey's picture

I'd like to ask for some advice about starting a rye sourdough from an existing wheat sourdough. 

I live with a 6-month-old sourdough. I keep it in the fridge and feed it about once a week. It seems to bubble and greet me (I guess it's happy). I followed the recipe in Dan Lepard's "The Handmade Loaf".

Yesterday, I took some out and refereshed it with rye flour and kept the remainder as a white leaven and refreshed it with bread flour.

The rye seems to be swelling OK and doesn't smell off. 

I presumed the culture (the yeasts and the bacteria) is active and I've only changed their food.

I plan to give it 24 hours at least, then use it to make a starter for some rye bread.

Have I gone about it the rigiht way? From my reading there appear to be subtleties regarding favouring lactic versus acetic bacteria. I think the denser the dough the more lactic it is and less sour and the wetter the dough, the more acetic and sour.