What type of flour are you using?
- It’s important to use rice flour to activate your starter.
- Do not use a flour blend for activation
- Do not use fresh-milled flour. Store bought flour is best for this first week
- If you prefer milling your own, store your fresh flour at room temperature for 2-3 weeks before use
- Once your starter is fully active and bubbly, you can switch it to a new kind of flour. We recommend reserving some of your starter as a backup in case the transition doesn’t go well
- Low carb flours are not an option for maintaining a sourdough starter
What kind of water are you using?
- Starter cultures need additive-free water. Chlorine, fluoride and alkaline or ionized water can be harmful to cultures.
How much water and flour and starter are you using?
- For the first few feedings, you will be adding a specified amount of flour and water to your starter, and the texture may be quite thick.
- Once you reach Step 5, it is necessary to discard some starter. This isn’t as wasteful as it sounds. Sourdough must be fed in a ratio of starter to water to flour. Without discarding, the starter will more than double with each feeding. At first, you’ll have 1/2 cup, then 1 cup, then 2-3, then up to 6, and so on! Discarding starter keeps the amount of starter manageable.
- If your starter seems very thick, add extra water. If your starter seems extra thin, add extra flour. Aim for a very thick pancake batter consistency
- If you prefer to measure by weight, use a kitchen scale to weigh your starter.
At what temperature are you culturing?
- Sourdough should be kept between 70-85ºF (21-29ºC)
- If the temperature is on the warm end, your starter may get thinner during the culturing period. To cool down the culturing temperature click here.
- Cool temperatures can cause issues too. If your culturing area is below 70ºF, click here for tips on warming things up.
If your starter seems sluggish after 7 days of activation
- Decrease down to 1/4 cup of stirred starter, and add 1/2 cup water and enough rice flour to make a thick batter. Cover with a tight lid and let sit for 24 hours. This will nearly always revive a reluctant starter.