What should starter LOOK like?


Hello all - I am wondering if someone can send me a photo of what SD starter should look like while it's developing - maybe in it's different stages - what it looks like when it's ready to use in a recipe, what it looks like when it's ready to feed, etc.  I live at a high elevation, that's very dry.  I'm wondering if there is less yeast in the air where I live since it's so dry.  I'm thinking that if I knew what I should be looking for, then the starter recipes I'm finding I can adjust as needed if my starter needs more time to develop.



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SlackerJohn 2019 February 14

Sorry, can't help with pictures!

But I don't think you're capturing yeasts in the air.  The yeasts live in the bran which is part of the flour you use.  That's why it's good to use some wholemeal flour in the mix, though even white flour still has some bran.

Julia Gonzalez 2019 May 23

Yea starters can look and smell different depending on the flour you use and how you feed it. There are a bunch of videos online that show you the process through each day. A starter if kept on the counter needs to be fed daily, if you keep it in the fridge then once or twice a week. and if you plan to bake using it soon then I recommend daily feedings for at least 3 days before you bake. A good way to see when the starter is ready to bake is a float test. I will usually fill a cup with water and just gently scoop out some of the starter and drop the starter into the cup of water and if it floats then you have enough gas in it to bake well with it. If it sinks then it wont give a good rise. If you see a liquid sitting at the top of the starter then that means it needs to be fed and I will usually do a double feeding that day so that it doesnt go bad on me. I will feed it in the mornng and then again at night. I hope that helps. 

Garethbusby's picture
Garethbusby 2019 July 4
Hey Natalie, if you want to speed up your sourdough starter, make it a bit wetter. You can always thicken it up once it becomes active. I wouldn’t worry too much about the atmosphere, you’ll find some natural yeasts somewhere! How old is your starter?

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