I am trying to grow my starter for the very first time. I have two of them, one is 12 days old now, 100% hydration white flour at 1:2:2 ratio, feeding every 24 hrs; it's a little bit bubbly and not rising much, not more than 10% of its size. The other one is 10 days old, also 100% hydration, a mix of white flour and whole wheat at 1:1:1 ratio; it still has some bubbles but not much of a rise.

Both smell yeasty with a hint of acidity. My kitchen temperature is around 20 degrees. I wonder what I am doing wrong. I read that by now my starters should be doubling or even more.

  • Welcome to the site, what do you mean by 100% hydration, and can you explain your ratios better? What does 1:2:2 mean, and is it by weight or volume?
    – GdD
    Mar 11, 2020 at 8:33
  • 100% hydration means that the amount of flour is the same as water, I weighed both in grams, 1:2:2 starter:flour:water, when its feeding time i discard all but 30 grams starter and add 60 grams of flour and 60 grams of water
    – Ola
    Mar 11, 2020 at 8:52
  • Thanks for explaining your ratios, I couldn't see how a 1:2 ratio could be 100% hydration, but that makes sense. What have you used as your natural yeast source? White flour isn't particularly good for that.
    – GdD
    Mar 11, 2020 at 8:54
  • @Ola could you edit this info into your question please? Comments are liable to be deleted after a while.
    – Spagirl
    Mar 11, 2020 at 8:56
  • Have you tried using the starter to bake bread? I have a rye starter that never comes close to doubling on feeding, but still is active enough to give a good rise over two days (keeping dough in the fridge). Mar 11, 2020 at 11:15

1 Answer 1


A good rule of thumb as to when a starter has enough oomph to raise a loaf is whether it will float in water.

I can take the properties of my starter pretty much for granted these days, but when I was making it from scratch I made sure to test a spoon of the portion that I was discarding for its flotation properties.

If you feel your starter is not making progress I would suggest two things:

  1. Keep it slightly warmer. The method at https://www.sourdoughhome.com/starting-a-starter-my-way/ which I more or less followed, suggests a temperature range of 18-30 degrees C, so your 20 degrees is at the lower end of that.
  2. Discard a lower proportion. If your starter isn't racing away and exhausting its food supply, it may help to build its population if you follow the SourdoughHome recommendation to discard only half of your starter at each feed and replenish with 50g each of flour and water.
  3. Check that your flour is as fresh as possible and consider switching to fully wholemeal until you get more activity going on, the meal being more likely to carry the necessary yeasts and bacteria, apparently.
  4. experiment with a different water supply, perhaps bottled spring water; some people report that chlorinated supplies are problematic for starters while others have no problem, there may be variations in the exact chemicals used.
  • @GdD i’m confused, what do you mean by a natural yeast source??
    – Ola
    Mar 11, 2020 at 13:59
  • thanks for the tips, i use bottled water, as for the fresh flour I don’t have a variety of flour where i live, just all purpose, wholewheat, and bread flour, and also no ingredients listed so i’m not able to know if there is any kind of chemicals or not, i might try raising my kitchen temperature though, and i will try the floating test, thanks 🙏🏻
    – Ola
    Mar 11, 2020 at 14:20
  • All I meant about fresh flour was to make sure that the flour you are using is not stuff that's been hanging about in your larder for years, fresher is better for making a starter but sometimes people start with whatever ancient bag they have on hand, or may buy it from a shop that doesn't have high turnover of their flour stock. I wasn't suggesting that your flour might have chemicals in it.
    – Spagirl
    Mar 11, 2020 at 15:15

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