The Fresh Loaf

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Starter too long to rise?

Guillaume's picture

Starter too long to rise?

Hi all!

I've been baking sourdough with the same starter for the past 2 months now and it feels like it is still too slow to double in volume. I feed it in a 1:1:1 ratio with 50% Whole Wheat and 50% All-Purpose flours.

It will then take 7 to 8 hours for my starter to double in volume. Same goes for my dough during the bulk. I need to wait at least 9 hours for it to double. So here are my questions:

- Is it actually too slow to rise? If yes, what makes it so slow.

- Do I actually need to wait for the dough to double in volume during bulk? I am following Tartine's recipe which recommends only 3 hours of bulk fermentation. But doing so lead to underproofed bread (see pictures below), whereas 10 hours leads to much more regular crumb. 

I am usually doing the bulk fermentation at around 21C (70F). Today I tried to put it in the oven with the light on, where I ended up on an average temperature of 26C (79F) and it only reduced the rise time by ~1hour.

4hrs bulk: 4 hours bulk

10hrs bulk: 


Any clue will help :-)

Abe's picture

Even if it is taking a long time. How warm do you keep the starter/dough? 

bradythebaker's picture

Hi Guillaume 

In my experience, 7-8 hours rise for a SD starter is not too long. Most recipes you see will usually say 12h for it to double. The speed at which it doubles can depend on how warm your room temp is, the temp of the water you add and the type of flour you use. I would definitely recommend a proofing box (brod and taylor) to keep the temperature really consistent for your starter, then you will know exactly how long it takes to rise!

Again I am not an expert but I have always seen you are looking for around a 30% rise in the dough rather than 'double' like a traditional bread recipe. But honestly, you can play around with this until you make a bread you are happy with. I used to follow the timings to a T like that but actually extending the bulk to 6/7 hours resulted in a bread I preferred! 


the 10hr bulk bread looks very nice...maybe if that is what you prefer then it is better to stick to that??


good luck!!