The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Starter only floats half of it

cherylg's picture
cherylg

Starter only floats half of it

Hi Bakers!  I am a newbie, have created maybe 7 loaves of sourdough french bread, and I am wondering - does the starter have to float completely?  Some of it floats, and then some goes to the bottom.  Comments?

suave's picture
suave

Float test does not really work all that well and was totally unknown until a few years ago when some entrerprising writer put it in their book. 

naturaleigh's picture
naturaleigh

I agree with the above comment.  I have never used the float test, especially not for every bake with a well-established starter.  If my starter shows that it is happy (doubling or tripling in about 6-8 hours, has lots of airy bubbles, smells nice and is a little 'gelatinous' when I first mix the water into it when I'm ready to feed or bake with it), then I know it is active, healthy and ready to make bread.  I wouldn't waste your time on doing a float test since it sounds like you have had successful bakes up to now.  If you were having issues and suspected your starter wasn't healthy, perhaps some more investigation might be in order.  Otherwise, I wouldn't worry about whether it floats or not and save yourself some hassle.

loaflove's picture
loaflove

Hi there, Hope you don't mind me joining in the convo.  what does it mean if your starter doesn't double within 6-8 hrs.  More like 12-24 hrs.  at about 20 c usually

naturaleigh's picture
naturaleigh

Hiya!  I think everyone has different rise times for their starters, since there are so many different variables involved, like room temp, type of flour(s) used, health of a starter, kept in fridge or on counter, etc.  I guess what is most important is if it does what it needs to do and provides bakes you are satisfied with! 

This site has a lot of helpful information: https://www.theperfectloaf.com/frequently-asked-sourdough-starter-questions/

loaflove's picture
loaflove

i guess i'm hoping for more predictability because i've had many nights when i'm having to make the dough at 12am because that's when it has peaked.  then i stay up til 2am doing stretch and folds. Lol

suave's picture
suave

It does not mean much without knowing feeding ratios.

loaflove's picture
loaflove

YOu're right . i forgot about the ratios.  this time, i fed it whole wheat.  i think the ratio was something like 50:80:80

suave's picture
suave

Yeah, 5:8:8 does sound like a 5-6 hour starter, particularly with WW.  Do you feed it straigth out of the fridge?

loaflove's picture
loaflove

yes i did feed it straight out of the fridge this time..

suave's picture
suave

It probably could use a feeding or two then.