The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Two sourdough questions

jsk's picture

Two sourdough questions

Hi everyone,

I've started a new sourdoug a week ago and i have now a healthy and active culture (Whole wheat flour, 75% hydration).

I want to convert it to a white flour starter and I'm having troubles in deciding what hydration should I go for. I had a stiff sourdough starter for a year or so (55% water) and I thought maybe in this new one, a more liquid starter could be more convenient for baking.

So, what hydration starter are you using and think is easy to convert to other hydration starters as needed?

Another question is how can I prevent stiff sourdough from getting a dry skin in the refrigerator like sometime happens?

Thank you and have a good week!

pmccool's picture

would seem to be a common theme for most sourdough users on this site.  So long as you are weighing your ingredients, it's easy to convert from stiff to liquid, or from liquid to stiff, as the formula dictates.  The same would be true for flour selection.  Start with a small amount (10-15 grams, say) of your base starter and within 2-3 feedings you will have converted it from a mostly Flour A to a mostly Flour B starter called for by the formula.

My own preference is to maintain my storage starter in stiff form, since I tend to only use it on weekends.  If I were baking every day, I might prefer a more liquid starter kept at room temperature.  Again, whatever suits your baking needs and schedule.

So far as the dry skin goes, keep your stiff starter in a closed container whose volume is just encloses the starter (allowing for growth, small though that may be).  I favor a plastic container with a snap-on lid (Tupperware, Gladware, you name it), but that's just my preference.


jsk's picture

I will go for the stiff starter then, as I am baking mostly on weekend as well.

Thank you again!

Nymphaea's picture

I bake almost everyday, or atleast every other day, with a stiff starter. I mostly like it because it seems to keep well, and is easy to work with/feed. Another thing to remember is that hydration can have an effect on the taste of the sourdough :)

It´s mostly up to your taste and your sourdough. Since I keep my sourdough out at room temperature at all times, its a bit more vulnerable to spoiling, and I found my sourdough didn´t take well to high hydrations, I spoiled 3 batchs (2 coming from the same healthy source) to figure that out. The current stiff starter seems to be holding much better, and be much more active since.

If you´re the type like me who loves to experiment, try making multiple hydrations of the same starter, try keeping them for two weeks or so, and see which ones are the most active, the differences in flavour, etc.

jsk's picture

Maybe I'll try that once.

Another question I've just thought about- my whole wheat starter wich I started from, has more than tripled its volume, and the more firm, white sourdough i'm keeping now is "only" rising by 2.5 times approx. Is it OK? Is it enough for leavening bread? It also has many bublles and a webby interior.