Sourdough Starter Troubleshooting: Your Questions Answered

Maintaining a sourdough starter is a source of concern for many bakers who are starting their sourdough journey, and rightly so. Understanding your sourdough starter is one of the most important keys to making great sourdough bread.

How do I Know When my Sourdough Starter is Ready to Use?

If your sourdough starter is established, then it usually goes through a cycle of rising and then going back down to its original level again.

The main signs to look out for to know if your starter is active and ready are:

* bubbles on the surface or sides of the jar *  the starter has risen in height As long as these two things are present, you are good to go!

What’s that Weird Liquid Floating on Top of my Starter?!

Don’t be alarmed when you see this. Runny liquid floating on the surface of your sourdough starter is perfectly normal, and actually shows that your starter is feeding well! The liquid is called ‘hooch’. If your sourdough starter starts to run out of food (sugars and starches in your flour), then it will start to produce hooch.

What should I do if there is Hooch on Top of my Starter?

If you see hooch on top of your starter, you can simply stir it straight into the starter, and feed your starter the way you normally would. There is no need to drain the hooch out. (This can complicate your hydration levels).

How Much Should I Be Feeding My Starter?

Not feeding your starter enough can be problematic if it is done too regularly, but the amount doesn’t have to be super precise either.

If you have roughly half a cup of sourdough starter. Then it will need to be fed a quarter cup of flour, and quarter cup of water. This will mean the sourdough starter will double its volume.

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