The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Overflow, Starter Still Safe?

Sikivaer's picture

Sourdough Overflow, Starter Still Safe?

Hello! I recently tried my hand at making a sourdough starter. I've been at it for about a week now give or take, and last night seemed promising since the starter doubled up nicely! But when I woke up in the morning, it looked like it grew a bit too much. 


Did I bung this up somehow? Please advise.

ciabatta's picture

That's a strong one! Just give it a stir down. maybe do a bigger ratio on the next feed (and find a bigger jar?) are you doing 1:1:1?  if so then, 1:2:2 will give it a longer time to peak.

Sikivaer's picture

Understood, thanks very much! I'll feed as normal for now and see where it goes.

I'm pretty new to all of this, so what do you mean by the ratios? I'm not really sure what they mean. I've been following a video tutorial on making the starter, it says to use 3 tbsp starter (discard the rest), 1/2 cup flour and 1/3 cup water when feeding. Here's a link!

Beth's picture

It is perfectly safe, but I don't understand why so many of the videos out there recommend such large starters and feeds. If you reduce the size, it will fit your jar and not consume so much flour (unless you make pancakes every day). I keep mine at 10 grams starter, 10 grams flour, 10 grams water. That is about a scant tablespoon of starter, a tablespoon of flour, and a few teaspoons of water. It will never look as spectacular (and it won't seem like it is rising as much, unless you use a very tall and skinny jar, which would be a royal pain to stir and scrape - mine lives on the bottom of one of the short half-pint jelly jars or a 1 cup pyrex, alternating to wash occasionally), but it will be better behaved.

Grant Y's picture
Grant Y


I definitely agree with trying to keep a smaller starter. I hate throwing away (discarding) starter. So usually I keep about a tablespoon of starter in a jar in my fridge and take it out to feed it the night before I bake. Really, this way I never need to discard anything. I actually made of video of myself making a brand new starter with rye flour. This time I tried to only feed 10g flour and water for the first two days so as not to waste so much flour throughout the week - and it turned out great!

Killahtron's picture

I keep a very small amount of starter in a jar, just a tablespoon or two at most and then feed about 12 hours before I start baking. Minimal discard as a result. 

Benito's picture

I've recently been a good amount of starter in the fridge and building a separate levain without feeding my starter.  Once I get low on starter after a few weeks, I give it a good feeding, let it rise fully and put it back in the fridge.  Every time I bake, I use some of the starter right out of the fridge to build the levain.  So the starter gets fed every week or two.

Sikivaer's picture

If I did 10 grams starter, 10 grams flour and 10 grams water, that means it's 100%  hydration right? What effect does that have?

Also, with that feeding, do you only feed it once a day? 

Mr Immortal's picture
Mr Immortal

Hi, Sikivaer!


You are correct that 10g of each starter, flour, and water would be a 100% hydration, provided that the starter you are using was itself a 100%hydration starter (meaning that it had been created and maintained with equal parts, by weight, of water and flour).   This is one of the reasons why so many people opt to use a 100% hydration, because it helps us to avoid the need for complicated maths!  If your starter is 100% hydration, and you keep the flour and water amounts that you add to it equal to each other (by weight), your starter will remain 100% hydration.


To answer the question about ratios, the idea behind using ratios (which are measured by weight) enables us to easily be able to scale the size of our starters up or down with relative ease.  It also allows us to easily tweak things as needed.  For example, you ask if using a 1:1:1 ratio (starter:water:flour) will result in a once per day feeding schedule.  The answer to this, much like most anything else dealing with sourdough baking, is a good solid “Maybe??”.  

Your feeding schedule will require some observation, and having a 1:1:1 ratio is a good place to start.  If that ratio doesn’t quite cut it, and you find you have to feed at least twice a day, try a 1:2:2 ratio.  If that’s not enough, try 1:3:3.  And so on.  By tweaking the ratio, you can alter the behavior of the starter, while still maintaining the relative ease of keeping measurements simplified.