runny starter


My starter is normally of quite a firm consistency but this morning it is really runny like pancake change in hydration.  Is it still safe to use and could it be the weather......18c  here in Scotland

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Wazza 2014 June 2

G'day Janisem, I wouldn't worry. 18c is average here (Melbourne, Aus... winter now). My starter is runny and used it today. Dough is rising as expected. From what I've read it can vary from doughy to battery depending on many different things.

farinam's picture
farinam 2014 June 3

Hello Janisem,

The consistency can change after a time.  Sort of like over-proving your dough.  If you left it long enough you could end up getting solids separation and a layer of 'hooch' form on the top.

Just a thought.


janisem 2014 June 3

Hi Farinam

Thanks fot your input.  Fed every 24 hours, normally quite stiff....never had separation and doesn't smell of alcohol

farinam's picture
farinam 2014 June 3

Hello Janisem,

Different flours (even the same brand - different season/batch) can have different characteristics in terms of moisture content and water absorbing capacity.

If temperature has increased, even a couple of degrees, it can make quite a difference to the time that it takes for things to happen.  So what might have taken 36/48 hours to happen could happen inside 24.

As an experiment, why don't you make duplicate samples and leave one on the bench for 24 hrs and put the other in the fridge and see what the difference is.  That should give you an idea if it is temperature related.

Other than that, keep on bakin'


Rebecca Aye 2020 February 21

HELP!!!!  I started my Herman Sourdough Starter yesterday.  Left in warm spot overnight as instructed.  Stirred it and put in fridge -- boy howdy is it THIN and runny -- not even remotely close to pancake batter thickness -- Will it thicken up over the next 15 days?  Should I add more flour?


Peter Owens 2020 April 22

Hi Rebecca,

I came to this thread for the same reason! Mine was nice and "doughy" with visible bubbles by day 2, but now (day 4) has the consistency of cream with no bubbles and no visible change in volume. I'm still feeding with a high gluten bakers flour, twice daily 1:1:1 and hoping everyone is right saying "just wait, it will be fine", but I can't help feeling something is wrong.

How did yours go? I notice it's been a couple of months since you posted this. Did it recover?


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