Should I change the water or flour I feed my starter? I am using the same recipe provided by Chad Robertson's book 'Tartine Bread', only changing the water from Poland Spring to Nestle Pure Life Enriched with Minerals bottled water which is closer to a 7.0 pH.

  • Hello, and welcome to Seasoned Advice! Poll questions ("what do you guys use for X") are off topic here, see the help, cooking.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask. But discussion on good techniques or the tolerance of recipes for different ingredient changes is very much on-topic, so instead of closing the question, I edited the wording for you to make it more in line with our rules. I hope I haven't changed your original meaning; if something is missing (and it is not on the off-topic list), you can edit it into the question.
    – rumtscho
    Jan 21, 2014 at 1:05
  • It's hard for anyone here to say if you should change how you feed your starer. Why are you considering it? Is something wrong with your starter?
    – SourDoh
    Jan 21, 2014 at 3:31
  • Perhaps it is my lack of experience with sourdough starters, but it seems like there is a small window of time when my sourdough starter seems ready for baking. In the winter weather here, I do two things before baking with it: I use it an hour to two hours after feeding, after I see a lot of bubbles. I also see if a tablespoon of starter floats in a warm glass of water. Only when both issues are in place, do I proceed with baking. I am just wondering if there is a way of creating a more robust starter.
    – user22597
    Jan 21, 2014 at 4:52
  • 1
    Generally, if you feed your starter more often, it will become more active. If your starter has a small window when it works, you might actually want to try slowing it down as it will be in that window longer.
    – SourDoh
    Jan 21, 2014 at 23:29

2 Answers 2


Poland Spring is 7.3 and Nestle Pure Life is 7.2. It is highly unlikely that this is going to make any noticeable difference in your results. I'd say use whichever is convenient.


If your starter is working as you're feeding it now, there's certainly no reason that you should change anything. Sourdough cultures can thrive on many kinds of flour and in many kinds of water (with some obvious exceptions like highly chlorinated water).

Changing the mineral content of the water that you feed with could have some impact on the makeup of your culture, just as changing the flour could. It's very hard to predict what this impact will be as it would depend on which strains of yeast and bacteria your culture already contains. These changes would probably be pretty minimal.

In short, if you want to change it, go for it. If not, stick with what works. It probably won't drastically change anything either way.

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