The Fresh Loaf

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Wondering if more patience is in order

Fly's picture

Wondering if more patience is in order

I'm on my first sourdough loaf utilizing my 2-week old starter.  I built the starter using THIS process, converting to 100% hydration for ease of use.  The starter looks and smells great and responds vigorously to feeding.  I decided to test it out so yeaterday afternoon I did a first build using 104g of starter and 104g each of water and bread flour, representing 25% of the total flour for the recipe.  The build went as expected and after 18 hours of fermentation I removed the original 104g, doubled it for a feeding (it's happily bubbling away as we speak) and proceeded with the rest of the dough conventionally.  Now, after 2 hours of primary fermentation, the dough has not budged, not one millimeter.  I can press it and feel nothing, I just sliced into it to find absolutely no sign of fermentation.  Not sure what my problem is...but the current situation is exactly the same one that caused me to give up naturally-leavened bread a few months ago.  I have a rocking starter, I build it up, and I end up with hard tack.

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

Hello Fly,

Congrats on your rocking starter keep feeding it and it will make you happy. Two hours for comerical yeast is a long time. Two hours for sourdough is not much time.  The Crusty Rye Rolls I just made had a final ferment time of 16 hours.  My everyday sourdough ranges between 6 to 10 hours depending on my kitchen temp or if I use my proofing box.

If you wait a long time and nothing happens then I would look at your method if you trust your rocking starter.

Hope this helps. Faith

Fly's picture



A little further reading has led me to the conclusion that perhaps I didn't build the starter up enough.  I only doubled it whereas most of the recipes I'm finding call for quadrupling or more in preparation for baking.   Am I on the right track?  I've been using 25% pre-fermented flour in my yeasted breads after experiencing some problems with 50% pre-fermented recipes.  Is it common to have a larger portion of prefermented flour in naturally-leavened breads?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Recipes vary, so do starters.  It will catch up.  Do a fold or two while you wait to feel the dough and strengthen it.  Keep it covered and comfortable.  The first sourdough rise is a test of your patience.  

Emergency suggestion:   If you find that after 18hrs, the dough has not risen any, mix up a tablespoon of yeast with a tablespoon of water and spread over the stretched out dough, roll up and lightly knead 30 seconds to blend in the yeast.  Cover & rest.  After 30 minutes do a fold and shape the loaf, let rise in a greased form or well floured banneton and bake when doubled.


whiskers's picture

I too am going to be following your thread and updates. Funny, we're both thinking "patience" around the same time! At least it sounds like you have a fully activated starter to work with. Mine is not complete yet, but will be following your footsteps soon. I will make sure to build a strong enough starter - so thanks in advance for your post!

I hope your dough is starting to rise by now....