I was given a sourdough starter a week ago and I kept it in the fridge. Yesterday I added the flour and warm water and left it at room temp. The recipe said leave for about 8hours and when it is bubbling, add more flour and water and knead it. But it has now been nearly 14 hours and it has never bubbled. It got some pin prick marks in the surface but that was all. Is it ruined? What do I do now? Throw it away and give up?

I was attempting to begin the process of making a loaf from the Cotteridge Sourdough Recipe. Once it had bubbled I was due to remove the amount for next weeks loaf, add more flour, cold water and salt, knead for ten minutes and then leave in an oiled bowl overnight to rise, but no real bubbling and now it looks like it has separated.

  • 1
    What are you trying to do, feed the starter to keep it alive or bake bread with it? If baking what recipe are you using?
    – GdD
    Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 10:48
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    What temperature was the water you added? And what is the temperature at your house?
    – Jay
    Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 12:58
  • I don't know enough to answer this question, but I've read that after refrigerating and before baking you have to wake the starter back up and do a 3 feedings every 12hrs before it's ready for baking. You can feed it, separate half out, put half back in the fridge and leave the other half on the counter, feeding till you're ready to bake.
    – Dalton
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 12:38

2 Answers 2


When I've made sourdough, I've always had a very active starter. To get it active discard half of the starter, and then double it with equal volumes of water and flour.

For example: If you have 2 cups of starter, dump out 1 cup, and add .5 cup water and .5 cup flour.

Feed it twice a day. When you see vigorous fermentation between feedings, it's ready to use. You can tell it's fermenting well by transferring into a new jar (mason jars work well) and seeing if the level rises and falls significantly between feedings.

  • @Dotid. Kevin is right. From what I understand, starters go dormant in the fridge and most people say you have to leave them out and feed them 2-3 times, getting them active again, before you can bake with them. Also, don't forget to keep out some starter to keep it going. Usually, people double the starter and then use half for the bread baking and put the rest in the fridge for the next time.
    – Dalton
    Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 13:44
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    I hear it's better to use weight instead of volume. I.e., remove 200 grams of starter and add 100 grams flour + 100 grams water. This way you'll keep it at 100% hydration: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baker_percentage Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 19:41

I wouldn't worry just yet, it won't die easily. You can dispose of half and try again. Have a look how much of the starter you need for the recipe. Put most (80%) of your starter into a separate container and top it up with equal quantities of water ( doesn't have to be warm) and flour ( I you organic wholemeal or rye) to match required amount, mix well and leave at room temperature for twelve hours. You should see it grow by then. Don't forget to feed the remaining starter (50:50 water and flour) and put it back to the fridge until you'll need it again... Good luck!

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