am I using my starter too much?




I'm not sure if I have a problem or not, lol! But I do have a question about my starter. 

I make a sourdough bread almost every day, and despite making a huge 1kg loaf my family pretty much demolish it daily. As a result my starter is never really more than 24 hours old before being refreshed again. 

While I love the breads and they are tasty, they dont  have the "sour" taste you'd expect from a bought sourdough. Is that because  my starter never really has time to mature? Or is that simply environmental?

It's just that I see people talking about a monthly feed and so on - well I would have no starter left after two days! Maybe I'm just using to small a quantity to start with? It lives in a 500ml kilner jar. 

I guess  I'm just wondering if I'm overusing my starter?

Thanks in advance for your insights :)




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farinam's picture
farinam 2015 June 15

Hello Luschka,

One thing to keep in mind when comparing your product to 'some' commercial ones is that 'some' commercial sourdough loaves have been made to taste 'sour' by the use of additives to 'enhance' the taste.

The term 'sourdough' actually refers to the starter having a sour taste, not necessarily the bread itself that is made using the 'sourdough' starter.

But, the thing that makes the sourness is the presence of acids such as lactic and acetic which are the product of bacteria that inhabit the starter and which tend to follow on after the yeasts in the working and it is mostly time that will allow these acids to be produced and to build up to a sufficiaent concentration to impart a 'sour' taste.  So the first thing to work on would be to extend the time taken from creating your dough to baking your loaf.  One way to do this is to retard the dough by refrigeration which will slow both the yeast and bacterial action but not quite as much for the bacteria.  You might still find that the effect is not all that noticeable in the scheme of things.

Others recommend using different hydration starters but I have not tested this approach.

However, why not just accept that you are making good healthful bread without all sorts of additives and extenders that go into 'commercial' breads and enjoy the fruits of your labours without agonising too much about the 'sourness' ot otherwise of the finished product.

Good luck with your projects.


Eigebroetli 2015 July 4
Hi Luschka The acetic acid are mostly responsible for the sour taste. Your starter will produce more acetic acid at under 26°C. Around 28°C mostly lactic acid is produced. Try to refresh your starter in the basement - you will usually find there temperatures around 20°C which is good for producing more acetic acid. Else, you could work with two different starters. Refresh the starter on day one. Put two glasses of refreshed starter in the fridge. Use one of these glasses on day two. Replace the used starter. On day three you take the second backup from day one. On day four you use the starter from day two. And so on.. To the question, whether you have a problem or not: no, not yet. Yet, the starter stabilises in the fridge. Acetic acid helps to conservate it. This means the warmer your starter is, the higher is the risk of it getting spoiled. So dry a part of your precious for backup!

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