The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Starter schedule problem

xabiermirandona's picture

Starter schedule problem

Hi everybody.

I have a bakery in El Salvador, central america. I used to check this block to solve some doubts. Great work what your are doing.

I could not find some topic that help me on this.


My bakery is inside the restaurant so for now we are feeding our starter with a 1:2:2 ratio at 5:00am, 1:00pm and 10:00pm. At 5:00am we find 720grs of starter and with that we make our levain at a 1:1:1 ratio. It works well until today. We have to move the bakery outside the restaurant cause we are growing, but there is a little problem that is giving mea lot of headaches.

now we work from 5:00am to 2:00pm so nobody could feed the starter at 10:00pm. My first guest was to modify the feeding ratio. First 1:4:4 it doesn’t work also try a 1:8:8 ratio. Also the starter wasn’t good at 5:00am we come back. 

We are a tropical country so during the day our weather tem is around 30 and at night could be from 20 to 22.

what do you recommend, what could be do? Right now one of us is taking the starter home but is to much risk and responsability to give to the workers. 

Thanks in advance


fredsbread's picture

Let me see if I understand your old process before I make suggestions for your new location.

At 5:00am, after making your levain for the day, you take 6g of starter and add 12g flour and 12g water.

At 1:00pm, you take your 30g starter and add 60g flour and 60g water.

At 10:00pm, you take your 150g starter and add 300g flour and 300g water.

Is that right? If so, just to get the right amount of starter at 5:00am to make your levain, you would need to feed your 1:00pm starter 1:12:12. Even at that ratio, it may ripen more quickly than it does with two separate feeds, but that's where I would start.

xabiermirandona's picture

Hi thanks for the answer


i would try to explain it better. My actual schedule is:

5am 25gr of starter, 50gr of water, 50gr of flour

1pm 50gr of starter, 100gr of water, 100gr of flour

10pm 150gr of starter, 300gr of water, 300gr of flour


now i want to change this as my bakery is going to be separate from the restaurant so it going to be open from 5am to 2:00pm maybe 3:00pm for the most. 
i have try to low the 1pm ratio to 1:4:4, 1:8:8 at its not slowing down, I mean some yes but not what I need.


fredsbread's picture

Okay, so you are discarding some starter between feeds, but the ratios are the same. Short answer: I would feed at least 1:12:12, if not find a way to cool it down or decrease the hydration.

Long answer: the problem is that time to maturity is not linear with feeding ratio. As your starter rises, the bacteria and yeast multiply, and they consume flour faster and faster. If you feed 1:8:8 (50g starter, 400g flour, 400g water) at 1pm, and it grows at the same rate as with your normal schedule, by 10pm it will have consumed 100g of flour, leaving 250g starter, 300g flour, and 300g water, which is a feed ratio of 1:1.2:1.2. No wonder it doesn't last until 5am! So, if you start with 50g starter at 1pm, then by 10pm you'll have 250g. In order to maintain your normal feed schedule, you would then need to add 500g flour and 500g water. 100g at 1pm + 500g at 10pm = 600g total. If you only need 750g in the morning for your levain, you can scale it down to 30g starter, 360g flour, 360g water.

xabiermirandona's picture

Thank so much I will try this tomorrow

There are two things I think I will do. Of course one separate from the other. First thing is I am going to feed my levain with your recommend ratio 1:12:12 at 1:00pm an see If at 5:00am it's ok. Let´s see...

Apart from that I will make another levain with the same ratio (1:12:12) but putting cold water on it at maybe 5 Cº so this will retard fermentation. 


Let´s see how it works. Thanks again