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I began growing a sourdough starter a couple days ago. Things are going very well so far! Too well, in fact; my sourdough starter achieves 2-3x its deflated size in less than 12 hours.

My research tells me that this is not a capital-P Problem. It does not have an odd smell, and has none of the worrying off-colors. It sounds like I have a good, incredibly active starter in a warmish climate, and that with repeated feeding things will even out as the bacteria die off, the yeast takes over, and the starter reaches maturity. All I need is time.

All that said: what is the best keep this starter from overgrowing its container while in this unstable, infant stage? Is it okay to stir/deflate it when it grows too large between feedings? Should I try to reduce its temperature?

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Sourdough starters perform best in the 70 - 80F (21 - 26.5C) range. Warmer will, of course, speed things up....cooler will slow them down. Over time, your starter will conform to your environment. In fact, this is an interesting element of starters. As different environments can create different flavors. I would suggest a larger container, or a smaller amount of starter until things stabilize, and you come to understand how your starter performs. You can easily adjust the quantity. It's all proportional. I keep a very small amount of already established starter alive and in the refrigerator, like maybe 1/4 cup. Then, when I want to bake, I remove it from the fridge, and take a couple of days to scale things up to the amount I want to use.

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  • Scaling down seems like a smart, natural compromise while my starter's microbiome settles into a rhythm. It's already in a 1qt. jar - not really looking to increase volume past that!
    – Conduit
    Oct 12 at 21:31
  • Scaled down to 2/3 the amount suggested, which seems to have had the desired effect. Thanks!
    – Conduit
    Oct 13 at 16:29

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