The Fresh Loaf

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200% Sourdough Starter

diverpro94's picture

200% Sourdough Starter

So after working on many of the recipes here on The Fresh Loaf, I have finally started my first sourdough starter! I love sourdough, but after reading a couple of recipes for starters I got a little scared. I searched on google for sourdough recipes and found this website. I just started his recipe for what I think is a 200% starter, but now I'm scared because a lot of people think it needs to be 100% or less. Yesterday it smelt sweet like homemade honey butter and it was the consistency of poolish (may be a little dryer) Do you guys think my starter will turn out ok?


ericb's picture

That sounds like a 100%-hydration starter, more or less. Once your starter gets going, you can easily convert it. Just use equal weights of flour and water when feeding it and you'll quickly have a 100% starter.

I would highly recommend the starter tutorial on The Fresh Loaf. It's rock-solid if the directions are followed exactly. You can continue feeding the starter from the other site, of course, but I think having two will give you a good basis of comparison. After a week or two, keep whichever one is most active, and chuck the other.

Let us know how it goes.


diverpro94's picture

Thanks Eric! I finished my feeding a while ago and decided that I will keep it because it's bubbling and has a sour smell. I will definatly try your trick to reduce it. Hopefully it turns out ok and I'll have give the other starter a try too. I'll keep you posted!

ques2008's picture

thanks eric for posting that sourdough tutorial.  funny, because i was just looking for some basic starter recipes - getting ready for next year when i embark on this sourdough challenge that everyone seems to be so at home with.

Royall Clark's picture
Royall Clark

Thanks Diver for posting S. John's web site. The man truly has a passion for cooking! I looked through his recipes and found that I was saving them all. The "Swiss enchiladas" with all the heavy cream sounds so obscene that I have to give that a go for at least one diner!!

His simple approach to SD baking may not go with the purist but could help get the beginner up and running!

diverpro94's picture

Hey you're welcome! My starter is doing great, so I'm slowly gaining confidence! I only looked through a couple of his recipes, but Swiss Enchiladas does sound good.  Although, my mom has the best (and I mean the best) enchilada recipe! Hummm... now I feel like making homemade tortillas. Here's a recipe here at TFL. :o)

Jw's picture

did you notice a change in smell as the starter ripened?

Cheers, Jw.

diverpro94's picture

Yes, it's becoming more and more sour (with bubbles), but it's not rising. Although, strangely, the sourness is smelling more and more cleaner (sorry I don't know how to describe it) like the sourness smells better and more appetizing , but it is still very pungent. Will changing it to 100% make it rise? I guess really question is how do I know it's working? Ahhh! Too many questions! :o)




cranbo's picture

if it's bubbling, your starter is working! Just keep feeding it regularly (about 2x per day,  about 7-10 days is good) to reach working strength.

I don't know how old your starter is, just keep going with it, sounds like it will work.

I keep a 178% hydration starter; it bubbles/gurgles a lot but doesn't really rise at all. When I made it initially (from water, flour, and organic grapes), it smelled pleasantly like strong parmesan cheese during the initial ferment. It even got a tiny bit of white mold on the hooch, which I scraped off quickly, and never came back. Once I got it on a regular flour/water feeding cycle, the cheesy smell dissipated, and it's never been moldy/funky since. It does produce a good amount of hooch (alcohol).

If you want to see more visual rising in your starter then a 50-60% starter will show a dramatic "rise" after you feed it. Liquid starters tend to produce a good layer of hooch, whereas firm starters don't.

Good luck and keep us posted on how it goes! :)







diverpro94's picture

So last Sunday I put it in the fridge after about 5 or 6 days. I pulled it out today and one of the two starters had a lot of hooche. The other one had a couple of bubbles. I dumpped out the hooche and continued. I have been throwing half away and adding equal parts of flour and water (1:1:1). Should I take it out of the fridge ? Should it rise? How do I know when it's ready?

diverpro94's picture

It's doing fine now. Today I started it on Gold Medal's Organic (unbleached) flour. I thought that would help the starter a lot because there would probably be more yeast on the flour. Wish me luck!