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I posted a question a few days ago. This was my first sourdough starter: My sourdough starter split in 2 on the 3rd day. What should I do?

and I decided to only keep the foamy part and throw the other half away. After another day that sourdough stopped growing and became kinda liquidy and I threw it away and started another batch.

2 days after and I am in the same situation. My sourdough starter split in two, exactly the same as in the above link. But this time I decided to simply stir it and feed it as usual.

After the 2nd feed, the starter kept splitting in two and the foamy part started to get smaller and smaller. The bottom part stopped making bubbles and simply stayed the same way.

6-7 hours before the 3rd feed the starter looks like the below picture. It stopped growing and it seems that only the top layer has bubbles. Is this normal?

It is also weird that two different starters have the same exact evolution, maybe there's something wrong with the flour? side view of starter in glass jar, showing little activity

top view of starter in jar showing light scattering of pinhead size bubbles.

EDIT: So after 7 more days of feeding and three attempts here is my latest result: enter image description here

Thank you for your advice!

  • Can you add some info about the method you are using? Are you using weight or volume? What hydration level are you using? – Spagirl Jul 31 '18 at 12:48
  • I started with 200 gr of 550 flour and 200 ml of water. After 24h I removed 50% of the content (Until I reached jar weight + 200 grams). Then I fed it with 100 grams of fresh flour and 100 ml of water. The same after 24h and again after 24h – Andrei CACIO Jul 31 '18 at 12:53
  • Your container shows traces of something up to the top - is that from a few days ago, or how did this get up there? – Stephie Jul 31 '18 at 13:56
  • Hmm, I think the lid got a bit dirty when I fed it and I didn't cleaned it. And as I opened and closed the lid some of the material got smeared – Andrei CACIO Jul 31 '18 at 14:05
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Nothing that happens in a starter in the first few days is normal, in the sense that it doesn't behave like a mature starter. During this time, the bacterial flora in the starter is in constant flux, and you need to wait until the desired bacteria have prevailed, which will take some time.

It is not impossible to do something wrong, but you will only know it when the starter has stabilized, or rather failed to. Until then, just keep the regime exactly as prescribed, no matter what visible changes happen.

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I have a starter in the fridge which I have been feeding on and off for half a year now. Every time I take it out of the fridge, it has split. Just mix the water back in before you feed. Don't worry about throwing it out, they always come back to life. The first few days of your starter, unless you have added yeast, it won't look like it's doing much. The first day I make a starter I leave it out 24 hours, feed it again (without throwing any away), leave it for 12 hours and then put it in the fridge. From then on whenever I decide to feed it I pull it out of the fridge, mix in the water, feed, leave on the counter for 4-6 hours (until I see lots of bubbles) then I throw it back in the fridge until next time I remember or decide to feed it. Once you have it started everything will be fine! It's much less a complicated science than it seems. As mentioned by rumtscho nothing that happens in the first few days will be normal! Just keep feeding it and give it time with the lid off to ferment nicely. Otherwise I'd recommend chucking a bit of live bakers yeast (small chunk, which is difficult because the stuff comes in bricks) or a packet of active dry yeast. Otherwise my chefs always recommended putting a piece of rotting fruit in it, but I've always felt that to be the least attractive option - what happens to the fruit bits?! Good luck!

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Looks to me like you just have too much water. What is your feed ratio of flour to water to starter? I'm usually doing 2:1:1

  • I started with 200 gr flour, 200 ml water. And on every feeding, I took out 50% of the content and added 100gr flour and 100ml water – Andrei CACIO Jul 31 '18 at 17:47
  • I would try 50ml water next feed. Always best if you can use filtered/boiled water that has come to room temperature. – user4922 Jul 31 '18 at 18:27

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