for starters


I saw on a youtube vid that if the starter floats in water, it's a sign that there is enough activity. mine sank with my hear and hopes, and yet the dough rises well when it's resting, to about 3 times the original size. does anyone know about this floating business?

Also, in relation to another post on where to find flour in Melbourne, I go to a lebanese shop on 33-37 high street, preston, called Cedar Bakery. I do not have a point of comparison as to the quality of the flour, however I can tell you that the wholemeal flour I get from there comes to 2 dollars a kg, compared to $6.25 for 2 kg at Marg and Maree on Bell street Heidleberg Heights. I have bought some of theirs and will make a loaf this weekend for comparison.



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wishfish's picture
wishfish 2012 July 16

Strikes me that the floating business is a bit vague since the starter goes through different stages... it might float when it's fully proofed but not when it has just been feed or is very hungry....


Seems to me that if it is doing it's job of rising then it is probably doing alright.

Olivier 2012 July 16

I have tested my starter at different stages and finally it did float, when it had risen the most. It now seems very logical to me that it floats then. I have also just made a loaf following this added instruction and the result is superior to my previous attempts. I will continue to make sure that I only use the starter when it's at its most active.


farinam's picture
farinam 2012 July 21

Hello Olivier,

The starter will 'float' when it contains enough gas to reduce the density to be less than water.  This is most likely to occur when the rise of the starter is at its greatest volume (which is not the same as when it is at its greatest activity).  Low hydration starters would need more gas to 'float' because of the higher starting density and high hydration starters might not 'float' because enough gas can escape through bursting of bubbles at the surface.

In reality, it is possible to make perfectly good bread starting with an un-fed starter.  Feeding it just has the effect of allowing you to keep a smaller quantity in reserve (that you build up to sufficiency by feeding) and proving that it is viable before committing your valuable resource (flour) to making your dough.

Despite all that, whatever method makes good bread for you is the right method.

Keep on bakin'


Thraundil 2012 August 2

With regards to flour quality: smell it! Taste it! (yes, the raw flour). And then as a guideline; check the production and expiration date. The moment a grain is milled it starts to lose taste and quality. So the "older" a bag of flour is, the "less" it will taste. 

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