The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

100% hydration not rising...

theoctopus's picture

100% hydration not rising...

Hey everyone.  I've got some experience baking bread in the industry, but am struggling with my at-home sourdoughs.  I started a 100% hydration sourdough (by weight, of course) a week ago with unbleached white flour, and have been feeding it regularly ever since.  The starter clearly has activity: it smells very sour at the end of a 12 hour period and has plenty of gas production (bubbles are seen at the surface), but I'm not seeing any rising of the starter.  I know a lot of people say starters are ready to use after they double in a 12-hour period, so I'm beginning to wonder if I made a misstep somewhere.  Any suggestions?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Do you discard first or are you adding to an existing starter making it bigger? 

How much do you start with, and how much are you feeding? 

What is the temperature?

whiskers's picture

If the starter is only a week old, I would keep feeding for several more days and see. The white flour seems to take a bit longer to take off than starter using whole wheat or rye. If you don't mind your starter being not 100% white, I would try mixing a bit of rye flour - it should give a boost.

I actually have a white flour starter that's about 2 weeks old, and it's just starting to show some rising action. But it's still not as active as the one with some rye flour. My rye starter triples in about 6hours!

I've heard that you can start by making a rye starter and slowly dilute it with white flour at each feeding until you can no longer trace the rye.

Good luck!

theoctopus's picture

Thanks for the suggestions so far.

The starter was first made with 300 grams flour, 300 grams water.  When feeding for the first 4 days, I took 100 grams starter, plus 100 grams flour and 100 grams water every 12 hours.  Now I've cut back to 60 grams starter, 100 grams flour, 100 grams water every 12 hours.

Temperature is approximately 65 degrees in the room.  Colder than normal, to be sure, but it's the best I can do.  Just in case the non-doubling was a symptom of slow yeast action due to low temperature, I left it for 24 hours between feedings.  Still no doubling.

Like I said, it's clear that there is a lot of action in the starter, and it occurs quickly after feeding.  But still, no rising at all.

pmccool's picture

to about 60%.  A starter with a dough consistency has a much more visible rise than a starter that is a batter consistency.  Either one works just fine, but the expansion is a lot easier to see in the stiffer starter.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

you will have to do better than that.  Can you park it on a stereo or computer that gives out heat, top of the refrigerator or the cupboard above it? 

theoctopus's picture

I can definitely sit it in a warmer area.  For a while it lived above my range in a cupboard where ambient temperature was probably 70-72F.  Still no dice on the rising, though.

I can decrease hydration to 60%, but if all it's going to do is afford me better visual cues as to starter maturity, I'm not sure it's worth it.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

then add fresh water and flour.   Every 12 hours. 

theoctopus's picture

Roger that.

ananda's picture


Just to build up your yeast count in the first place, then the current temperature you have your culture stored at is way too cold.   Those yeasts and microbes like the same temperature we humans do: 37.4°C

Best wishes


bobkay1022's picture


 Not saying that all the info is not the way to go . Mike has a free page and I have never had a starter that would not produce useing his recipe. Lot of other useful info for the novice also.  The link is below enjoy as I have.


Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

I once did a side-by-side test with three different day-1 mixtures. One culture was started and subsequently fed with nothing but unbleached white flour, one was started with 100% whole grain flour and then fed white, and the third culture was started with a 50/50 mix of the white and whole grain. Other than the initial mix, all were treated exactly the same. The 100% whole grain took off in 7 days, the 50/50 in ten, and the white took 14+ (they all grew leucs on day 2).

There are two things you can do to help things along at this point:

  • Make your next feeding a whole grain flour (doesn't matter if it's wheat or rye)
  • Reduce your feeding to once a day until it starts expanding, and use a ratio of 2:1:1 (starter, water, flour)

Patience is the magic ingredient :-)

theoctopus's picture

I really appreciate all the suggestions and help from seasoned pros.  Part of me wishes I had a microscope and time to investigate the micro flora in my sourdough right now (I'm a huge micro nerd, and really miss taking classes in it).

Patience is certainly one thing I have plenty of.  I'll feed whole wheat today, and just keep giving it time to do its thing.