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What am I doing wrong?

elizajane's picture

What am I doing wrong?


I don't know what I'd doing wrong. This is the second time I've tried to make a starter, the first was the recipe off King Arthur, and then The Clever Carrot. I followed both recipes to the T, and after the initial feed the starter doubled, and thereafter, absolutely nothing, apart from the 'hooch.' No growth, no bubbles, nothing. Why? I've replaced some of the feeder with wholewheat to try to give it a kick, but it's totally unresponsive.

I made a sourdough starter a good few years back and it worked perfectly. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong here... any advice as to what could be the issue here?

Many thanks,


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

water?  Tap, boiled tap, bottled, etc.

flour type?

location?  Aprox.

How many days? 

elizajane's picture

tap water, whole wheat flour (I live in South Africa), in Johannesburg. And it's been since Wednesday

elizajane's picture

and it's in a warm environment, cannot say the exact temperature

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

26-27° C is ideal after the first 24 hours. Cool at night. If the starter is also cooling down at night, I would count 24 hours as a half day instead.  

If you are starting over, Try to get the starter up into the low 30's and stay there for the first 24 hours to get those bacteria thriving. You don't need a lot of flour and water. After the first 24 hrs warm, return to about 26°C for the rest of the week or two. Feed in the morning or as the daily temps rise.  Boil the water and let it cool down before using. Letting the boiled water stand a day is also not a bad idea.

If you are stairing at a flat lined starter, try giving it another day or two before adding any flour and water. Stir occasionally if you want to check the aromas.   

Abe's picture

You're following a recipe with timed feedings. When it initially bubbled up it was fine to feed. If it all goes quiet, which is quite normal after this initial bubbling up, then better to skip a feed or two until it picks up again. 

mariana's picture

You are doing nothing wrong, EJ. The recipe says it takes seven days to make a starter, for it to begin doubling says TCC website, and you've been doing it only for two (?) days, Wed-Tue, today is Fri, day three. It is too early for it to be active.

Also, it requires warmth around the clock and weather in your area is 27C/13C these days, not a steady 27C, so it mig take longer for your starter to develop.

Be patient and follow the recipe. Everything will be OK.

Rempejek's picture

Can altitude have anything to do with it?

Just a random thought