The Fresh Loaf

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50% hydration Sourdough Starter / Fridge

PetraR's picture

50% hydration Sourdough Starter / Fridge

I want to store my Stiff 50% hydration Sourdough Starter in the Fridge for a week as wont be able to bake for 1 Week next week.

Do I feed it and wait 1 hour or longer before I can put him in the fridge.

And when I pull him out in a week, do I need to feed it again or can I use it once it has fully risen and warmed up?

ghazi's picture

Once hes been in the fridge for about a week, bring him out to room temp while he warms up, will probably still puff a while longer (since he's stiff) My rye starter from fridge was left out for 1.5 days at +/- 70F and was growing happily, You can use straight away, though feeding is a nice way to ensure hes really happy. Though this might just be a mind thing.

I think its good practice to leave outside for about an hour before going in fridge, in reality I really don't know if this makes much difference.

To me, tasting really gives the best answer to whethere I can use for baking or maybe I should give another feed to build up more muscle. Its that twang your after, if it tastes good and you go back for more, its probably right on the dot.  Putting in the fridge only means the yeasts go to sleep so they are all still there waiting for room temp to arrive again

Firm starters are the best in my opinion because fermentation is slow, you might have to wait a bit longer but rewarded most definitely

PetraR's picture

So I done the right thing. pheww

See, I know my liquid starters very well and have no problem , but with the stiff starter... I did not know how it will behave.

I LOVE my stiff starter.

I wonder if I can convert my Rye starter in to a Stiff Starter, I think I would much prefer it.


ghazi's picture

I just love stiff starters, don't get sticky on your hand when mixed. More compact and peace of mind. What's not to like?

Of course, a stiff rye starter loves the cold. Occasionally gets very happy and makes shapes in the jar, depending on how you store . Such a character

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

I only bake once a week and keep my starter in the fridge. My schedule is this...

  • Take out of fridge and allow to warm up for a few hours
  • Feed so I have some left over after taking out enough to use in my baking 
  • After starter has doubled stir down, measure how much I need and return what's left to the fridge
  • Repeat process week later for next bake

Should I skip a week I would still feed it using the same process. But only return to fridge after it has bubbled over 8 or so hours and stirring it down. 

Obviously I'm now left with a lot of starter and if I feed again before I bake I'll have enough to fill a barrel. So when I come to bake next I'll take the starter out of the fridge, dump 3/4 and give it a good feed to start the process again.



PetraR's picture

I have no problem with my 100% hydration Starter, that is already a good routine I am having, right now I was not sure what to do with the 50% hydration Starter but that is sorted too.

I think I shall not use my 100% hydration starter anymore since I much prefer the stiff starter now, so easy to feed and so much more forgiving.

Also, the bread dough holds it shape now where before I had to be very careful.

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

I don't have any experience with a 50% hydration. Will be like learning all over again :-)

Best of luck. Let us know your success.

PetraR's picture

I must say that I much MUCH prefer the stiff 50% hydration Starter.

The only thing that I was not sure about was , how or when after feeding storing it in the fridge.

I fed it last Night and 1 hour later I put it in the Fridge and it is growing nicely in the fridge.

It behaves so much better than the 100% hydration starter , so much easier to feed, no mess , no gloop..just wonderful.

I also like the taste of the bread better and so does the family.

I shall tonight convert my 133% Rye Starter into a 50% Rye starter, than I can choose between Rye and / or Wheat starter.

Starting a stiff starter from scratch is easy too.

I am on day 5, only doing it to be able to let my Sister know she is doing it right, she never made a starter so I said we do it together.


AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

It's late here but I'm gonna message you sometime to learn more about how to make, or convert my 100%, a 50% starter plus advice on feeding and using. I work with limited space and if this makes handling easier plus the bread tastier then definitely will be something to consider. Ttyl. 


dabrownman's picture

for my 66% rye starter yo get it to 100g and refrigerate it after it rises 255 after the 3rd feeding. 50% is a little stiff for my lking.  Will last 6-8 weeks in fridge no worries.  I now cover the the 100 g ball lously with plastic wrap to keep the top from forming a crust trying to etend it past 8 weeks.    You really only need to keep 1 starter.  The whole rye one is the one I would pick for sure.  You can take 5 g of it and convert it to any other kind of levain you want in 3 feedings, without throwing anything away - so no need for more than 1.

Happy baking  

PetraR's picture

Oh that sounds good.

How do you do the 3 Stage for a stiff starter, is that the same as for the 100% hydration starter.

I am very happy with the 50%, I like a firm starter now very much.

I shall convert my 133% hydration Rye starter tonight in to a 50% hydration one and see how it goes.

What do you mean when you say : * After it rises 255 after the 3rd feeding * Do you mean  255 g?

ghazi's picture

If you've got the yeasts reproducing already in your starter I feel there is not need to do small builds.

What I do is take out about 10g from fridge (making sure it tastes very sour first, so I know its hungry) and feed it 1:4:2

It will take longer to get active though it does work. When I make bread I bulk ferment usually overnight, soemtiems even the shaped loaves again. This would enhance sour if you like it that way. Has been working for me. Most importantly your starter is mature

 I think in reality you can feed your 50% starter every 3, 4 even 5 days. Since mine takes 1.5 -2 days to activate fully 70F+/-  at larger feeds and staying active for longer so no worries on feeding.

I think DA means it rises 25% before putting in fridge to grow slowly.

Question concerning DA builds, you say after 4 weeks no maintanece at all rye starter 66% hydration is ready for sour rye bread, do you feed it first or directly use say 100g in a bread?

This might sound like a silly question sorry, though I did use some starter direcltly from fridge (1 week storage) and worked for bagel dough. Though when I used remainer for whole grain nothing puffed at all.

Seems the window for using direct  is 2 or 3 days depending on feed amount and activity level before putting in firdge

PetraR's picture

My husband calls me * Queen of fermentation * not sure if I should take it as a compliment * g * because my Sourdough Starters are so active.

Even the 50% hydration one , fed with cold water during this warm weather rises like mad...

I got rid of my 100% hydration Starter now since I prefer my 50% hydration Starter so much more.

Not sure if I keep the Rye Starter since I have not used it in weeks.

I am happy with the one starter and can take a part out and convert it to what I need.

I heard that , with a 50% hydration starter or stiff Starter, you can put it in the fridge after 1 hour, than you can take it out within 3-5 days, let it rise fully and can use it without feeding it.

I was not able to do that with my 100% hydration Starter, it always needed 2 good feedings before I could use it for baking.


ghazi's picture

why they are the best companions, so versatile. They really don't rise much in the fridge as DA was saying it takes up to 8 weeks storage for them to activate at those temps (depending on food available). Even then when you bring them out still lots of action at room temp

Having 1 starter is the best scenario, . Since when you raise yeasts they just require food (starch) in any flavor

Looks like your on the right path Petra, all good things to say and your bread always comes out blooming:)

Im still learning a lot and have trouble with following 1 recipe, so my consistency is down. Got this thing where I just put less and less yeast. No a good thing when your dealing with 100% wholegrains

One always learns the hard way I guess

dabrownman's picture

of the fridge and do a 3 stage levain build with it throwing nothing away and just put the rest back int he fridge it will last at least 6 weeks that way.  First stage is 2 hours and the 2nd is 4 hours in the summer.  I refirgerate my levain build for at least 24 hour after it rises 25% after the 3rd feeding.  I take it out the next fay amd let if gfinish doubling before using in bread.  I never use starter directly from the fridge.  I want to make sure it is ready and in peak form to do its work. If it can't double after the 2nd feeding in 4 hours then i toss the 2nd feeding and repeat it.

 Here is the levain build schedule use depending on how fast and how sour I want the levain and resulting bread to be.

  FirstFirst 2nd2nd 3rd3rd  
Dough Build Build  Build Build  Build Build 

If I want slow and sour, I use the first line . if I want fast and sour I use the bottom one.  The ones in the middle give you medium spoeed and sour.


PetraR's picture

Once I fed my 50% hydration Starter I let it sit on the counter for 1 hour, put it in the fridge where it will continue risen somewhat during the time until I need it.

I take it out, I open the lid so that Air can circulate, let it come to room temperature where it finishes rising to peak and be able to use it just like that. 

Between taking it out of the fridge and using will be about 5 hours, not JUST out of the fridge.

That is what I have heard , and it really does work.

Of course one can do one feeding the night before baking, but so far I did not need to do that.

dabrownman's picture

here is the build for the 66% rye starter.  If it doesn't double after the 2nd feeding in 4 hours toss the 2nd feeding and repeat.  Refrigerate. what ever size starter you make after it rises 25% after the 3rd feeding.  It should last 6- 8 weeks with no maintenance in the fridge and you can take a little of it each week to make you SD levain 

Feeding1st 1st 2nd2nd 3rd3rd  
ghazi's picture

to not waste anything that way. I can see your builds start our at 1:2:2 moving onto less flour more starter which increases sour.

When I build now I almost always use 1:3:1.5 to 1:5:2.5. Sometimes if  starter is getting sluggish I give a smaller feed 1:2:1 to get back tang

With bigger builds + stiff do not have to keep monitoring and stretch and fold here and there and in roughly 2 days my levain is ripe. Still get sour if I retard in fridge but not so much. I think I prefer just a hint of sour hence the bigger feedings.

You've got it down to an art, great explanation as always. Keeping it simple