Sourdough Starter Help

Started by saucy_boi, March 10, 2021, 09:50:51 AM

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I'm going to be having my first go at making pizza with my own sourdough starter tomorrow and I was looking for a bit of advice on quantities/ratios.

Using TXCraig1's fermentation chart I reckon I'll need ~35%starter for a 24hr fermentation time (it's quite cold here atm) but I'm not sure whether this would change my hydration ratio, as sourdough starter should roughly be 50:50 flour:water. So, my question is, is this something I should take in to account and adjust the amount of water I put in, assuming the starter is 50% water or should I just keep my quantities the same and treat the starter in a similar way to yeast?

For info I'm using ~62% hydration currently.

Any other tips/helpful info anyone may have for my first sourdough NP would be massively appreciated!


Using 35% starter you will definitely need to account for the water. High amounts of starter can also be tricky to work with, even in cold environment.   
Risa sin camisa, sinvergüenza.


There are legions of people on this board that are more experienced than I, but my experience began in August and continues, in spite of a learning curve. These are my thoughts and takes based on the above.

I don't consider the amount of water in the sourdough when working out the hydration, part of that assumption may be based on small batches but have not seen a significant difference between dough made with IDY and SD in terms of hydration.

There are sooo many people who say that consistency of timing of feeding and amounts of feeding are important. Listen to them! My usual "wing it" style does not work with consistency! I have "adopted the pet" and it has me on a schedule - to my benefit! I refresh my starter twice a day, once about 10:00 and again about 12 hour later. There have, obviously been times when that went sideways, or the fridge was used because I wasn't going to be available, but other than that it is pretty close to full time.

I started with an Ischia culture, a gift from Arne, and available on line. After the initial feeding,  backing up, an important step at the start I found, I now use 50 grams of existing starter, 50 grams of water and 50 grams of all purpose flour. And repeat and repeat . . . . .

Don't expect it to be work or be consistent right away, it took me a month (or two or three . . . . ) to get somethings that was predictable in any way.

As said above, there are so many more experienced. Looking at their posts gives you an idea of amount of add as % and usually timing. The King Arthur website is very good for info and importantly how to dry a back up just in case!

It has been a fun but at time frustrating journey - enjoy!
My 2 fingers are complaining, so I will end there
A very patient wife! An Alfa Forni Brio for gas and wood.


If you want to end up with a 62% dough, using your 100% starter (50/50) I believe you will need just 55% water to get you to 62%.  I am the worst at math, but an online calculator threw that number at me.

Do you have a warmer area to proof your dough? Perhaps a lamp in a box, or the light inside your oven?  This way you can use less starter. Sometimes a lot of starter just causes my dough to break down if the fermentation window is lost.
Risa sin camisa, sinvergüenza.


In the past when I made Neo pizza, the sourdough ferments were multi day at approx 55F. After they were pretty well fermented I would ball them and refrigerate until baking day. Don't let cold scare you, just plan ahead. It took many experiments before hitting the method. This was before we had a chart to refer to.



After many experiments, 15% using 80% hydration starter. 48 hour fermentation at 55 degrees. Conforms to the TXCRAIG chart even though it is just outside the charts sweet spot confidence band.

I do calculate total hydration and have a personal sweet spot but the impact on total hydration is less than the impact from my journeyman handling skills.