The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Should I adapt the percentage of starter used if I change its hydration?

julinhamoreira's picture

Should I adapt the percentage of starter used if I change its hydration?

I usually use a 100% or 90% hydration starter when I bake my breads. Now I want to experiment with more liquid starters, with around 150% hydration. 

My basic bread formula is this:
100% Flours
70% Water
20% Starter at 90% or 100% hydration
2,4% Salt

When using a more liquid starter, should I change the percentage of starter in my basic recipe, to obtain similar leavening results?

phaz's picture

If you feel like doing the math, sure. But in reality a little bit this way or a little bit that way won't make much of a difference. Can't see it from my house as they say in this neck of the woods! 

idaveindy's picture

Generally speaking, and hat tip to Dan Ayo for teaching me this...

what is important is the percent/amount of "pre-fermented flour."

so, if your previous use is 80 grams of 100% hydration levain/starter, then you have 40 grams of pre-fermented flour.

Then to get 40 grams of PFF with 150% hydration starter, you would need to use 100 grams of starter/levain.

Net: you now have 20 g more water and would then decrease the water elsewhere by 20 g.  These calculations would be "the math" Phaz refers to.


Technically, percent PFF is calculated on total flour, including the flour in the levain/starter.

Example,  if you have 400 g flour in the initial mix, plus 40 grams of PFF in the starter, then your % PFF is 40/(400+40) * 100.

(Just an aside, total/final hydration also takes into account the flour and water in the starter./levain.)

julinhamoreira's picture

Thank you, knowing that I should keep the pre-fermented flour the same is perfect and now easy to adapt.

When I put the formula, it was the formula for the recipe, but I know that to calculate total hydration and so on I need to consider the amount of flour and water also used on my starter.