How can i slow down the starter from doubling


Dear All.

On my first trial to start a sourdough starter something strange happened to me  which is not like what I'm reading..i started my starter on Monday the 20th next day Tuesday(24 hours) i feed it (first feed)  the same on Wednesday and Thursday a total of 3 feeds usually at 8:00 am , on Thursday at 2:00 pm (after 6 hours) it doubled in size so i feed it again. After one hour (3 pm) it doubled in size again so i feed it  and went out , came back at 7 pm (4 hours later) and saw the starter and it lost it's volume(but has many pupils) so i feed it, after 1 1/2 hour it doubled in size again ! so i feed it again (same night) 8:30 pm and strangely it doubled again ( i felt I'm growing a monster ) so i feed it again and put it in the fridge to stop it from growing , after one hour it doubled in the fridge , then it stoped..Now i still have it in the fridge. Please anyone let me know what is happening ? Best regards to all


farinam's picture
farinam 2012 August 25

Hello Toba,

It sounds like you might just have a very active culture going there.  You don't say what sort of room temperature you have but the activity does depend quite strongly on temperature and when you put something into the fridge at room temperature it takes a while for the temperature to drop and with a very active brew to start with it could still rise quite considerably in the fridge before it cools down.  However, you might find that if you take it from the fridge and feed it and put it straight back in the fridge the activity will not be nearly so great.

I would keep going with stabilising your culture for a few more days yet just to be sure that it is robust and then you can start to make bread following one of the simple recipes that are around.  I can highly recommend the Pane francesa that SourDom gives in his beginners blog as a good starting point.  Keep the same recipe for a number of times even if the first few don't turn out as well as you would like.  As your technique develops, the quality will improve without fiddling with the ingredients.

If you do have a high room temperature you will have to shorten the time line that you use to prepare your dough to match the rate at which your culture works or you will have to use retardation in the fridge to slow things down to a more manageable pace if the short time does not suit.  Above all, learn to 'listen' to the dough and become familiar with two things in particular - the window test and the poke test.

All this assumes , of course, that your culture is not smelling nasty or anything like that.

Hope this helps and let us know how you go.


toba 2012 August 26

Thank you farinam for your valuable comments , i especially liked the part  'listen' to the dough...i will when i reach that part....i hope i can express myself better this time , i started my starter as follow ; 1/3 white flour 1/3 whole wheat 1/3 parley flour and 2/3 warm water and added 1/2 teaspoon honey and homemade barley starch with a room temp. 25 c. (77 F.) ...i started to stabilize  the culture by taking one table spoon of the same starter and feed it only white flour 1/2 cup and 1/4 of cool water and the same thing is happening is doubeling in size after one hour..i did this twice so far there other methods to stabilize concedering what I'm doing is right?..if you allow me another contaminated starter will also produce bubbles and double in size?and what about the very storng alcohol smell? best regards to all

Kevin 2012 October 26

I would stop feeding it with sugar (honey) and use normal temp tap water instead.  You have given it the 2 best things to grow - Sugar and warmth.


Alvaremj's picture
Alvaremj 2012 October 26

I agree with Kevin about the sugar. Besides being expensive it is unnecessary, at least in maintaining a starter. Cold water, lower temperature 50-65 degrees (room temp) and a lower hydration (less water) will all slow it down. Oh and if you must, a little salt.

Good luck


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