...is it ready for baking?


 Hello! i'm in my second week of cultivating my first starter(rye), and i'm a bit conflicted about whether or not it's ready for baking.... my case in point:

i believe the starter guide says it is ready for baking when in 24 hours the starter has doubled in size/has frothy top/network of bubbles underneath. My starter reaches this point very fast, within 6 hours of feeding, but by the time 24 hours rolls around, it has deflated significantly - sometimes even back to its starting line!  At first i thought it would deflate less and less as time passed, but the past 3 days it has definitely deflated back to its starting point (though nice and frothy/bubbly otherwise).

Is this normal and is it ready? if not... am I just being impatient, or should i maybe be feeding it more often?


Thank you,


262 users have voted.


Old Possum's picture
Old Possum 2011 October 24

Hi Laura,

Sounds like your starter is ready for baking. Definitely needs more feeding. If baking, then feed it twice (say before bed and next morning and then make bread when it has doubled the next time. Feed your remaining starter and put in fridge until you need to bake again then repeat the two feed regime to fire it up ready for the next loaf. Happy baking.

lakoivu 2011 October 24

 That is great news! I'll get it started then 

I should be using the starter at its peak (so 6 hours-ish into rising for me) am I correct?

Midnite Baker's picture
Midnite Baker 2011 October 24

Hi, yes, use your starter at its peak.  You may find that your bulk ferment will have about a 6 hour rise time. If you feed your starter every 12 hours, you might find that your double time will be shorter.  I just revived my starter.  It now doubles and more in 4 hours. I use a 100% hydration.      

You don't need this info right now, but bookmark it or download it for vfuture reference. I find these formulas very helpful from farinam.  Let us know how your 1st loaf came out.  M

Hydration spreadsheet  http://sourdough.com/blog/hydration-calculating-spreadsheet

Starter/Levian Building Spreadsheet  http://sourdough.com/blog/starterlevain-building-spreadsheet










robin 2011 October 25

 I read a great bit of advice in Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson (my bread-making bible).  He says the leaven is ready to use when it floats in room temp water.  Just drop a teaspoon full of the leaven in the water and if it floats, it's ready to go.  (Robertson's leaven is 1 Tablespoon starter with 200 g warm water, 200 g flour, so 100% hydration, left to rise overnight.)  I wasn't getting much oven spring until I read this and I've been making great bread ever since.  Wish someone had told me earlier!

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