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Starter suddenly not rising

sirimakingbread's picture

Starter suddenly not rising

Help! My starter is about 6 months old. I bake with it weekly and have never had any issues with it rising. I baked with it successfully a week ago, then three days ago baked a few somewhat flat loaves (but not sure if this is related to the issue at hand or just overfermented). The NEXT day, I fed my starter again (1:1:1 with 80% AP and 20% WW) and saw zero rise. Tried again last night and woke up this morning to zero rise. This has never happened before! Did I kill it? The picture attached is from this morning, after being fed (jar fed 1:1:1 and cup fed 1:2:2 for experimentation purposes) and sitting out for 8 hours. 

I am wondering if I could have overheated it. I usually place it on our heater vent for a while during its rise to speed up the process. This has worked very well so far, and I did the same two days ago when I first saw no rise. Maybe this time it got too hot. 

I see a few bubbles, but can't tell if they are just from mixing and not starter bubbliness. Also, I normally feed either with all AP flour or with 10-20% WW. Always seems to go over fine regardless of what combination I do. 


Has this happened to anyone? Is it dead? Everyone says starters are hard to how can I revive? Just shocked at how suddenly I went from strong starter to nothing! 

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

'Stop Digging'! They've been fed so there's nothing much more you can do now. Feeding them more won't help if they haven't activated yet. In fact it can do more harm, at this stage, than good. All you can do now is treat them like days 4 and 5 of a new starter. Keep warm, stir and don't feed again till you see signs of activity. 

In the meantime you can start a new starter just incase they don't recover. At least you'll have a head start. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and spit out.  Now describe.  Temperature info could be helpful.  Put your hand on the heater vent for five minutes and if it is too hot for your hand it is too hot for the starter.