Before you watch this video on sourdough starter maintenance, please know that it really isn’t a big deal to keep your sourdough culture alive and healthy. A good starter is naturally very hearty and robust. If I were as strong as my starter is, I’d be competing in Iron Man competitions. At a minimum, all you have to do is throw some flour and water in once in a while to keep it alive during periods when you’re baking infrequently. To keep it near optimum health, feed it once a week or so and keep it refrigerated.



If you’re baking regularly, say weekly or bi-weekly, it’s easy enough just to feed it after using the amount called for in your recipe before returning it to your refrigerator. If you really want to be sure your starter is in optimum shape, feed it once or twice the day before baking or the two days prior to baking day. In addition, here are a few points that are worth noting…

  • When you feed your starter, feed it with approximately equal weights of flour and water. That equates to about 2/3 to 3/4 cup of water for every cup of flour.
  • As a general rule of thumb, the amount you feed your sourdough starter depends on how much of it you have to start with. When practical, you want to approximately double the amount of starter you have each time you feed it. However, if you already have a couple cups of starter on hand and typically only use a cup of starter in your recipe, it doesn’t make sense to have to double the existing two cups of starter. In this case just dispose of a cup or more of the starter and then double what remains.
  • If it’s been a long time since you’ve fed your starter and you don’t plan on baking for a while, don’t feel like you have to go through a big rigamarole to keep it happy, just stir in a 1/2 cup of flour and about the same amount of water and forget about it. That will at least buy you a few more weeks before you have to worry about it again.
  • If you really don’t think you’re going to use your starter at all for a very long time, (some people don’t bake during the summer months, for example), you could dry some starter and freeze it. It will store this way indefinitely. Then revive it in the fall. See the videos on drying starter and reviving dried starter.
  • If you need a whole wheat or rye starter, it’s easy to convert your white flour starter by just a few successive feedings with the flour you want. You may have to adjust the water as some flours are thirstier than others.
  • Be sure to store your starter in a container that’s not air tight. This comment from Madelyn dramatically (and humorously) illustrates why.

I’m really belaboring this subject. Once you’ve played around with sourdough starters for a while and baked some with it, you’ll know all you need to know and develop a sense for what works best. If your bread is not rising as much as you think it should (you’re not getting the desired oven spring) then try what I said about feeding your starter a couple of times in the 12-24 hours before starting your recipe.

As with anything on this web site, if you have any questions or comments about anything please ask in the space below.

Jan 13, 2011 Update: In this video I mention a favorite recipe of mine that calls for 2 cups of sourdough starter. It’s been so long since I shot the video (and many favorite recipes ago), that I’ve forgotten exactly which recipe I was referring to. I do know it was in Ed Wood’s book,Β Classic Sourdoughs. He has many recipes in there that call for 2 cups of starter.

Managing Your Sourdough Starter

Comments from our Forum

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  1. saarsalem says:

    Is it okay if I leave my starter in room temperature all the time as long as i feed it once a day?

  2. Eric says:

    Yes. Some bakeries do it that way since they're using it daily. But it can be a little tricky unless you are using it to bake daily. If you're not drawing from it daily then just a little bit of feeding probably won't be enough and the right amount of feeding may result in you ending up with a ton of starter before long. It may just take some experimenting to find a routine that works for you and your starter.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I returned from vacation the other day and when I took my starter out of the fridge to feed it the top 1/2" had turned an unhealthy-looking bluish-grey color. Rather alarming! I skimmed the discolored portion off and fed the starter as usual, but is it safe to use...?

  4. Eric says:

    You did just the right thing. You might want to feed it once more now just for good measure, if you haven't already. Your experience isn't unusual and your starter will be fine. Not unsafe to use.

  5. Katrina says:

    I would like to give a friend some starter but have a couple questions. .. 1. should I feed my starter before I give it to her, or give her the cup unfed for her to feed? 2. If I do not feed it before I give it to her, how soon should she feed it? 3.Should she let it sit on the counter to bubble up before storing in fridge? 4.Lastly, I had read that a thinner starter will have a more sour flavor, is this true?

  6. Eric says:

    I would feed it before giving it to her and tell her she should keep it in the fridge and feed it again within a week. Then I'd direct her to this page so she can learn how to manage it.

    I've read that a thicker starter will produce a more sour flavor. open_mouth

  7. richard says:

    Jennifer, I can relate...I was horrified the first time I saw that blue-grey liquid, or "hooch", atop my very first jug of starter. And I'm certain it's a felony, the way I abuse and neglect my starter at times...but those wild yeast critters are amazingly forgiving, at least those here in the Pacific Northwest. So now I actually welcome that liquid because I learned that by stirring it back into its "mother" increases the sourness. I lost all fear of the hooch when I saw some Youtube instructor sipping it like a fine wine. Yeah, I did, too.

  8. jlynn550 says:

    I was told not to use anything metal on the sourdough starter. That by doing so it will prevent the dough from rising. Is this true?

  9. Eric says:

    There's probably no need to keep that much starter on hand unless you plan on starting a bakery. Since most sourdough recipes only call for a relatively small amount of starter, you might want to toss all but a couple cups at most. Besides taking up less space, you won't have to feed it as much to keep it healthy. Here's a page on sourdough starter management that might be helpful:, but the really rough answer to your question is feed it at least once a week and at least double it each time you feed it. That's why if you're not using it enough, you'll need to toss some periodically in order to keep the quantity manageable.

  10. ritchd01 says:

    I have purchased one of your dry sourdough starters. It is working beautifully but I'm still a bit confused about how to maintain. I have a scale so what I have been doing is adding equal amounts by weight of starter, water and flour. Is this correct? In other words I take 350 grams ( just using this figure) of sourdough, then add 350 grams of flour and 350 grams of water. Does this make sense? Is it also correct of me to think that you nearly always will have some starter to either give away or throw away when you feed your starter? Otherwise you will end up with too large a quantity.

Earlier Comments

1,522 thoughts on “Managing Your Sourdough Starter

  1. Hi Sandy. There’s no right or wrong in sourdough starter management exactly. But I suppose some methods work better than others. You can feed it weekly but you might want to feed before you bake with it so it’s more vigorous. It’s ok to switch to a flour/water diet and ok to use filtered water from your fridge.

  2. Sandy

    Just getting started on the joys of sour dough baking and have had some mixed results as well as a few questions I’m hoping you can help me with. My original start up recipe called for equal parts flour and water, an envelpe of active dry yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar. I let it sit on my counter for about 2 days, stirring it each day and then put it into the fridge. After using some for the first time (made english muffins) I then fed it 1 c. flour, 1 c. milk an 1/2 c. sugar as that’s what my recipe indicated.

    Since then I’ve used it to make cinnamon rolls but they did not raise the best, although the recipe called for no other leavening than a bit of baking powder along w/ a cup of starter (at room temp.) I fed the remainder of the starter w/ the same flour, milk, sugar and then tonight I made pizza crust using it right out of the fridge, adding hot water and yeast to it along w/ some flour of course. It rose nicely and made an excellent crust albeit a bit sweet for my tastes.

    Since I’m finding so many variations on how to care for, feed, use the starter I have a couple of questions I’m hoping you can help me with. First, should I be feeding the starter BEFORE I use it or take it out of the fridge to come to room temp., take what I need and then feed it afterward? I’ve yet to attempt a loaf of plain old sour dough bread which is why I’m asking. Second……even though up until now I’ve been using the flour, milk, sugar combo to feed it, can I switch to just water and flour (is water filtered from my fridge okay?) or will that compromise the starter since it’s previously been fed w/ sugar, and lastly, is it okay to only feed it weekly if I keep it in the fridge and only bake w/ it approximately once a week or so?

    Thanks for your help!

  3. Shelley

    I recently had good luck getting a more sour flavor with my sourdough whole wheat bread. What I did was mix up the ingredients for the sponge and let it sit 24 hours. Then I put it in the wine cooler – which is about 48 degrees – left it for 2 days. Then I took it out, let it sit for almost 2 hours before kneading it about 10 times and forming it into a ball. Covered the ball in plastic and let it rise for about 2 1/2 hours before baking. The sour taste was much more pronounced.

  4. Hi Dorothy,

    Check out this 1 minute video: Your starter doesn’t have to do this exactly, but you’ll know when it’s healthy and ready to use when it’s all bubbly and spongy and rises when you feel it well. And yes, I think the ascorbic acid would accomplish the same thing.

  5. Dorothy

    I’m sorry, My post had an incorrect heading. It was for Eric, not Fred. Thanks again for the great website.

  6. Dorothy

    Hello Fred… I just found this website… It’s GREAT!
    After feeding the starter how should it look before I can bake with it? I’m never sure if I should wait until the bubbles start to deflate or have small vallies. I too also have neglicted starter that I have had for six plus years. It comes to life with very little attention. I never knew that I should have fed it more than once prior to using it. The recipe that I have been using calls for stirring in the hooch. Mix together two parts starter, one part flour (white with a pinch of rye,) one part mineral water… Can I change it to your recipe?? I have also read that citric acid (lemon or vinegar) can be added for extra tang. Would the ascorbic acid (vitamin C) that you refer to be the same? Thank you.. Dorothy C.

  7. Hi Fred,

    One possibility is that the added sugar and potatoes are speeding up the fermentation process so much that the yeast is exhausting its available nutrients all in the first rise. I would definitely not use added sugar and no need for the potato either. Flour alone is sufficient food for the yeast as it gets converted to sugar during fermentation.

    People use sugar and potatoes and every other thing to get a starter started in the first place, but once the starter is going, all you need is flour and water to maintain it.

  8. Fred Fritcha

    I have a starter I use every other week, I add 1 cup flour , 1 cup water I cooked potatoes in, and1\2 cup sugar. It raises once okay, but not second raising, I don’t know if I don’t knead it long enough or what Please help

  9. Hi Amanda,

    Not necessarily. When baking as often as you are, you can get by with feeding less frequently. There’s no set rule on how often, and it’s going to vary anyway from one baking schedule to another. When you run low, feed it. When it looks like it might be losing some vigor, feed it. If you’re not sure, feed it.

  10. Orlo Jantz

    Do you ever add sugar to your starter?

    • Hi Orlo,

      I don’t. The yeast in the sourdough converts the carbs in the flour to sugar. That seems to be adequate. Some bread recipes call for added sugar for flavoring and/or to give the leavening a boost.

  11. Amanda

    Do you have to feed starter everytime it is used? I tend to make several small loaves a week. If I have to feed my starter everytime I use some, I’ll be throwing out more than I am using. If not, how often should I feed it?

  12. Gaby

    You mentioned in your video a bread you are preparing with 2 cups of starter. I liked the idea and to the usual very active starter, I added 1 cup of older starter (but not completely dead) by substituting it to 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour from my original formula. The result was a more sour bread but in a very pleasant way. I’ll continue experimenting with this method as I liked the result.
    Could you share with us your formula for a bread with 2 cups starter ?
    Thank you for the idea and for your site which is very helpful.

  13. My husband purchased the sourdough starter as a Christmas gift for me. It didn’t arrive until we returned from Christmas vacation so it sat at the post office for 4-5 days. I followed your instructions and it still hasn’t increased in size and very little activity in the starter.
    I’m very excited about making a good starter and sourdough bread.
    Please advise of what to do.
    Vicky Schulze
    Sierra Vista, Arizona

  14. Hi Tom,

    Managing sourdough baking to get the degree of sour you want is, in my opinion and experience, very challenging. Prolonging the rising times by proofing at lower temps is supposed to help and often does. Proofing in the fridge for several hours or overnight and then resuming at room temp may work. Or, now that colder weather is upon us, just keep it in a cool room.

    Additionally, or alternately, you can use smaller portions of starter in the recipe which prolongs the time it takes until it’s ready for baking.

    Some people use a pinch of ascorbic acid (vitamin c powder available in many health food stores), to increase the sour taste. I’ve never tired this.

    I suppose the strain of bacteria in the starter plays a role too but I’ve not heard much definitive info on the subject.

    Hopefully, we’ll get some feedback from others on this.

  15. Hi Audrey,

    Yes. Almost anything will do. You want the starter well covered but not air tight. And I’d stay away from storing it in a metal container as I suppose it’s possible for the acid in the starter to react with the metal if given enough time. Plastic, glass, ceramic are all fine and a wide mouth container is handy.

  16. Audrey

    Are there different options for storage containers for the sourdough starter?

  17. Tom

    Hi, I received your starter about a week ago and everything is going fine. I have baked two different types of bread and each came out great ( I think) but I have a question. How do I get that extra sourdough taste ? I am very new at this but would like to find a recipe for extra sourdough like here on the left coast I mean the west coast. Thank you for all your help, Tom

  18. Paul

    This may have been answered but I didn’t read all 500+ comments so I apologize if this has been answered. I am a career baker and have made many starters and have made many at home. It seems many people are having trouble so I wanted to put my 2 cents in for an easy build, first remember true sourdough takes time and while there are ways to speed up the process beginning bakers should stick to the basics, 2nd while working with weight is so much more accurate most people don’t have good scales at home so I will refer to cup measurements.
    The easiest way to get a starter going is use king arther organic flour, equal parts flour and water, this works well cause if you are writing recipes using the bakers % it’s very easy to break down the starter into the recipe.
    Take roughly 1/2 cup of organic wheat flour and 1/2 cup of water mix together and put in a bowl with a lid, I leave a little opening or a loose fitting lid so it can breath. After 12 hours it will seem like nothing has happened but still add another 1/2 cup of each flour and water without dumping Any of your starter, after another 12 hours you will notice a nice smell but it’s still not ready ( I wouldn’t use a starter less then a week old) at this time add another 1/2 cup each flour and water again without dumping ( I know this is against what most people say but you are going for growth and by this time you will notice your starter is fermenting fast). After the next 12 hours it’s time to dump some starter, take 1/4 cup of your wheat starter 1 cup of water and 1 cup of flour and mix together ( at this point you can switch to another flour) you will notice during the next 12 hours your starter will slow dramatically, continue the last step every 12 hours for a week 1/4 cup starter 1 cup flour and 1 cup water.
    Also the reason to start with organic wheat flour is it has the natural germ in it I’m not partial to king aurther but it’s easy to find and consistent.

  19. Hi,

    I made a very active sourdough starter before leaving for a trip. It was a 4 to 1 ratio in creation. Well, it got wimpy after the trip and some more neglect later.

    I decided to really feed it, but took some of it and converted it to rye starter. It’s still wimpy. But..

    I am wondering if I can use some of that wimpy starter in your aromatic rye bread recipe. I thought I would replace 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water with 1 cup of starter. I would use yeast, but I don’t know how much.

    Should I just use the regular amount of yeast in the recipe and just pick up from after the overnight wait?

    Thanks so much,


  20. Rebecca

    Hi Lita,

    I’m Al’s daughter, the one who gave him some starter. I made my starter last spring in MI using the pineapple juice and flour recipe on this site. I followed the instructions exactly and had perfecet starter right on the first try! So I highly recommend watching Eric’s video on this.

    I’ve since given some of my starter to my dad and my mother-in-law, and we’re all baking wonderful sourdough bread – along with using the la cloches we all purchased through this site! I started putting my starter in the frig about a week to 10 days after getting it going. Had a bit of trouble with it when the cold season hit, but have since decided to feed it more often, which seems to have cured it. I have a large family of boys, so I am baking bread basically every day, so my starter gets fed a lot. But there have been times when I’ve actually pulled the starter right out of the frig cold and baked with it. The key is keeping it healthy.

    Good luck and have fun!


  21. Jason

    This may be *slightly* off topic, but I was wondering if anyone has tried to maintain a starter made from commercial instant yeast but then keep it going in the fridge with flour/water like they would a sourdough culture ? Would it be able to continue to propagate ? And perhaps take on grain loving bacteria and other yeast from the local environment as well as time goes on ?

  22. Lita

    Juli, thx for the advice/insight. I think i will give it a try again πŸ™‚

  23. Julie

    Lita and Al: I’d also like to add in- don’t hurry along your rising by using a heating pad either! I live in a cold climate and was using the heating pad on Low. It was great to make the bread rise quicker, but when it came to baking, the whole thing flattened like a cow pie- consistently. I have found that just letting it rise on the stove in the kitchen, at its own rate, really changed the picture. Now it’s coming out fluffy and high and crispy on the outside, rising very well. Just thought I’d pass on that tip.

  24. Al Straub


    I’m no sourdough connoisseur but am still learning just like you (I just started a few months earlier, is all). I believe that the pineapple juice, or something similar, is necessary to provide the organic culture that works on the flour. If you feed it and it does not bubble up/expand over a few hours then you may need to review the starter videos on this site.

    Once you get it going l would say leave it out at room temperature and just keep feeding it once a day. You can pour off the excess as it expands so as not to have to add too much new flour when feeding. I try to feed so as to double the amount of starter each time, and don’t add too much water.

    When the starter readily bubbles up and expands over a period of a few hours then it is ready for baking. After you mix up a batch of bread dough you can put the starter in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake another loaf. Then take it out, feed it and let it warm before mixing another bread batch.

    I have found that, given the cooler temperatures in my house, placing the dough in my over-the-cooking-range micro wave, and leaving the cook-top light on makes for a nice warm environment inside the microwave (90 degrees F) and the dough rises fairly fast. Of course if it rises too fast you probably won’t have as pronounced a sour-dough taste so you have to be careful not to let it rise too fast. DO NOT use the microwave with the dough inside! I suspect that is sure to kill the little sour-dough “guys” and you will wind up with a nice batch of library paste.


  25. Lita


    Wow that’s awesome. So after you got your starter from your daughter, did you immediately begin keeping it in the fridge or did you build it up first. I soooooooo want to get one started and it actually exhibits life…lol. I will have to try the pineapple juice. I did water first 2 attempts because I got my info from another site. Then when I was trying to look for more help/suggestions I ran across this site. Thanks so much for responding Al. I hope to one day become a sourdough connoisseur so that I may be able to give advice to the next person πŸ™‚

  26. Al Straub


    I got my starter from my daughter last summer. She was the one who actually got it going using pineapple juice and flour. I will ask her to post a reply to your question.

    I generally kept it in the refrigerator but would take it out and feed it in the morning and then mix a batch of bread in the evening for baking the next day. Things went fine during the summer (in Michigan) but when fall came, and the temperature in the house dropped from the low 70’s to the upper 60’s, the starter began to be unresponsive.

    After watching the video on managing starter I began increasing the amount of “feeding” flower to effectively double the starter each time. I also used less water to produce a thicker/stiffer starter. After about a week the starter demonstrated a lot more “life”. At one point it nearly reached the top of the container.

    Before each feeding I would discard all but about 1/2 cup and then add 1/2 cup flower and maybe 1/3 cup (reverse osmosis purified) water. This seemed to do the trick in rejuvenating the starter.


  27. Lita

    How long did you have your starter before you put it in the refrigerator?


  28. Al Straub

    Some weeks ago I was struggling to get my starter to work right but now it seems to become quite bubbly only a few hours after feeding, and this has resulted in a good rise in the loaf. I can only attribute this to 1) feeding it often enough that it does not develop a layer of alcohol while sitting in the refrigerator and 2) heeding the recommendation to maintain a much thicker consistency. The stiffer starter seems to work much better than watery starter.

    I have also removed the lid seal from my latch-type canning jar, letting the starter “breath” a little in the refrigerator but can’t say for sure that this benefited the starter.


  29. Lita


    Thank you for your response. I am hoping I can see some growth soon. I don’t want to give up. I always see some bubbles on top, and tiny ones around the edges (when its actually warm in here) but never the BIG bubbles all through and no doubling yet. i soooo want to make my own bread and try various other recipes with sourdough. So as of now Im not giving up. And when I say giving up I mean waiting til summer….but thats soooo far away πŸ™

  30. Polox

    I just moved from MI to CA. When I started my sourdough starter it took me a good month to really get it going and bake good bread. I would feed it once a day, ratio 1:1:1 by weight, and leave it on the counter. I don’t use warm water, just room temp from a filter. Now my starter is 1y.o and I feed it once a week, or 24hr before baking. I keep it in the fridge.
    Once your starter is mature it will double even during colder months.
    Good luck and keep feeding your starter.

  31. Lita

    First of all thank you for such a quick response. I just stumbled upon your site and began watching the videos. very informational. couple questions. When would you say its time to give up and start over (after how many days) if not doubling in size? Also what advice would you give when trying this in the winter months? I hear of keeping them in the fridge but is this after a couple weeks of first starting/building it up? Also do you recommend using warm water in such cases of cold weather?

  32. Carl Mott

    I had 1 cup of sourdough in a container resting (it did bubble quite a lot) at room temperature for at least 12 hours, and then I added 1 cup of flour and 2/3 cup of warm water. For some reason, my sourdough didn’t double in size after feeding it, but it did create a fair amount of hooch.

  33. Lita

    I really need help. I live in CA and am really trying to make a sourdough starter. This is my 2nd try and I don’t think its doing all that great. The weather has been really cold out here so I know that has alot to do with it. after feeding in 12 hours I may see a few bubbles on top but not all through like I have seen on some websites. Also its not doubling like most starters should. What am I doing wrong. Please help. i really want to start making bread soon

    • You can do everything right and it still may not work. Sometimes it just takes several attempts and extra time to capture and cultivate the elusive yeast.

  34. Julie

    I love your site. I have been baking sourdough bread for almost a year, with my own starter- and baking at least 3 times a week. Lately, I have noticed that I have more and more occurances of “cow pie” bread: where the loaf rises out and not up and becomes very flat. I have tried adding more flour to the dough, making sure it does not over-rise, thickening the starter, etc. but cannot figure it out. I often don’t know if this is going to happen until the point where I pull the cover off the dutch oven. Up until that point, the dough feels like it’s going to rise perfectly. What am I doing wrong?

  35. Jeff

    Thanks for the website. I noted your comment on the page with the no knead sourdough instruction that your starter is on the thick side. Mine is on the thin side b/c I have been feeding it w/ equal VOLUMES of flour and water. My no knead sourdough breads, using the proportions on this site, have come out a bit short, 2.5″ high, after baking the nearly slack doughs in my 9″ Dutch oven, with a mild to moderately open crumb and good sour flavor. My regular no knead breads, OTOH have come out 3-4″ high.

    I hope I can make taller sourdough. Next few times I feed my starter, I’ll just add flour ’til it thickens a bit. Then later, I’ll feed with equal WEIGHTS of flour & water. It seems that I have a huge volume of starter (3 cups) for only using 1/4 cup at a time and feeding with 1/2 cup flour/same weight water. It seems to produce ok breads, but would they improve if the starter volume were lesser? (I developed my starter using instructions from Maybe I knead to pour off/give away/use 2 cups ?

  36. Hi Gary,

    Optimum starter health comes from daily or multiple daily feedings with the starter not refrigerated. That’s usually only practical for professional bakers who bake with their starters daily. So the rest of us left having to use the fridge. I’ve always kept mine in the fridge and been happy with the results I get. It would be interesting for someone to do some extensive taste comparison tests on the differences. Refrigerated vs non refrigerated.

  37. Gary Reinke

    I keep my starters in the refrigerator and feed weekly but I have recently read that in typical refrigerators, the temperatures are too low to maintain healthy starters for any extended time. In these temperatures, a portion of the bacteria and yeast die which contributes to the off flavors. A better temperature to maintain starters to retain their flavor is between 42-50 F. I know that starters will survive for very extended time periods with little or no attention/feeding, but what is the impact on flavor? What is your experience?

  38. Anzhelika

    I am a first time visitor to this website and very interested in baking spelt sourdough bread.Can I fit my sourdough started with spelt flour?
    Thank you,Anzhelika

    • Sure. Spelt flour is fine.

  39. Jason

    Let’s say you didn’t plan on making bread for a few days and fed your starter and put it back in the fridge but then decided you wanted to make bread sooner than you expected. How long should you wait before you use the starter you just fed ? ‘Till it’s doubled in volume roughly ?

    I just fed mine last night but decided I wanted to make to start a sourdough bread tonight so since I had just fed it I thru in double the amount from the jar into the recipe and will cross my fingers .. if it doesn’t turn out no biggy, flour is cheap πŸ™‚

  40. Shelley

    Since I began taking my starter out TWICE or sometimes THRICE in a week to feed it, the hooch has not been a problem. Also I am feeding it MORE than i used to. Even if I am not baking with the starter in that week, I still feed it.

  41. Saeriu

    Hi Eric, just found your website and love, love, love it! I made my first sourdough starter about 6 weeks ago and have been making loaves on the weekends. I keep my starter in the fridge but have noticed that a hooch/alcohol forms within that week. Should I be feeding it more? It’s my understanding that the fridge should keep it growing slower and that the hooch shouldn’t necessarily develop within only a week’s time.


    ps. Thanks for creating and posting all of these videos. Books with illustrations have lead me to this point and your videos have really been educational.

    • Thanks Saeriu,

      Mysterious are the ways of sourdough starter. Yes, normally hooch shouldn’t form in a week. More frequent feeding will likely remedy the problem. Once a starter is very healthy, then hooch will form less easily.

  42. Interesting question, Jason. I’m pretty sure frequency and quantity of feeding has a way bigger influence on the vigor of starter than the type of flour used. And that the type of flour would more influence the flavor than vigor, but I suppose a test would be in order. Or maybe someone else reading this knows.

  43. Hi Phyllis,

    Before you use your starter in baking, make sure the starter itself rises well when you feed it. Have you done that?

  44. Jason

    Does the type of flour (white,whole wheat, rye, etc. ) you feed your starter while maintaining it make a difference in it’s vigor ? Thanx !

  45. phyllis

    Hi I just started my sourdough starter from a Nancy Silverton recipe using water flour and grapes. Made my first bread turned out bad it did not rise also when it was cooked the middle was packed and the bread weighed a ton. Not sure what to do next? I could use any help with the starter?


  46. Yes, Mary Sue. Vinegary is just another indication that the starter isn’t getting enough to eat and/or often enough.

    Hi Bart. I would just add more flour.

  47. Bart

    Eric, how do I make a firm starter (biga) out of a wet one?


  48. Mary Sue

    ps–I also noticed that the starters at room temperature smell much more vinegary than one I did stick in the fridge. I’m assuming this is expected because they’re eating too fast and starving?

  49. Mary Sue

    Thanks, Eric. You’re right, I’m not baking daily, so I’ll put them in the fridge. Would you recommend a short stint of frequent feedings (2or 3/day) to revive them? Or should I do something else?

  50. Hi Mary Sue,

    Unless you’re baking every day, you’re probably better off keeping your starter in fridge and taking it out to feed at least once a week. It’s good to feed it within a day of baking too. When you leave it out all the time, you have to feed it a lot more than you are now so basically it’s not getting enough to eat which is why it’s declining.

    Ideally, when you do feed your starter, it’s nice to be able to double or triple the amount of starter you’re feeding and let it sit out until it’s risen some. If you’re not baking frequently or routinely, it can be challenging trying to keep your starter optimally healthy so that it’s ready to go when you need it. Shelley’s post (just above yours) is classic case where she had to make adjustments to suit her particular baking routine to make it all work for her.

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