Formula build for baking



I need some advice on preparing a portion of my 100% hydration starter ready for baking. My sourdough journey began with this site. My starter was successfully raised using Sourdom's instructions and I successfully made the Pane Francese, which was fantastic. However, I am always confused, when a recipe just calls for, say 225g starter and doesn't elaborate on the build instructions, to know the ratio of starter/water/flour to use for the build.  Is there a standard formula covering the amount of starter to use when building?  Hope someone is willing and able to assist.  Sourdough pizza dough is my next project!

Thx for any help and advice.


262 users have voted.


craig_the baker 2013 February 12
It all depends on what you want for a flavor profile. In Chad Robertson's book, there is only a small amount of seed,1Tbs, to 200g of water and 200g flour. He then uses only 20% of prefermented flour in relation to the total flour weight. The more seed you use and the more prefermented flour you use in the recipe the more acids you bring with it, hence making it more sour. A Tbs of vigorous starter will seed quite a bit of flour and water. You can easily use as little as 1Tbs to seed 150g flour and 150g water. Then, if you want it more sour, let that "new" starter ferment longer before incorporating it into your final dough. I hope this helps....good luck!
Alvaremj's picture
Alvaremj 2013 February 13

Congratulations on a viable starter! I feed mine at least once a week and store it in the fridge when I am not baking with it. 

You should feed your starter using a ratio (by weight). i.e. 1:3:3, 1 part starter 3 parts flour, 3 parts water. You can change the ratio as you see fit. I keep my 1/2 Rye 1/2 white stater at 75% hydration with 30% of the total weight added for the starter

5.2oz Starter

10oz Flour 

7.5oz Water

Using the ratio method you can keep a small amount (5-10oz) in your refridgerator and build it up before you bake. Building the starter before baking has allways worked out better for me. Good luck!



shoshanna 2013 February 13

Thanks guys for your responses.  Both are very helpful, and give me a guide.  So much to learn, so much to bake. so little time!  I currently have 4 different starters inhabiting my frig (I know, I know - I've gone starter insane).  Had such success with my first starter, that I just wanted to see if I could convert discards to different flour starters, and they all went gang busters.  How to now throw away any .. how do you throw away a child?  I am definitely over the edge!  All the fault of this site.  Of course I now know I only need one and can then convert when a different flour type is called for.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing.



SlackerJohn 2013 February 13


I have no wish to confuse you further, but here's an alternative to "building" the starter every time you bake.

If you need, say, 225g of starter for a recipe, add 100g flour and 100g water to your stock of starter from the fridge (assuming 100% hydration).  Wait until your starter activates fully, remove 225g to bake with, and return the rest to the fridge.




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