My starter rise up and falls back within a couple of hours



I have started a whole wheat starter with 60 ml water and 50 gr whole wheat flour. I have been feeding it every 12 hours with 60 ml water and 50 gr whole wheat flour regarding the half of the starter for 11 days. It has never doubled up in size yet but everytime i feed it rises up almost double (2/3) within a couple of hours than falls back. The tempreture of the room is 20 C. In the morning there is alcohol and froth on the surface and lots of tiny bubbles all around as well as some biggish bubbles. It doesn't smell unpleasant but normal fermenting smell. 

Will my starter double in size evetually? Am i rushing to see good results? Should i keep on feeding twice a day?


I would appraciate some help..

Thanks, Basak

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farinam's picture
farinam 2017 March 14

Hello Basak,

The normal cycle for a starter is that, after feeding, the rate of gas production exceeds the rate of escape and the volume increases because of the gas that is retained.  As the food supply runs down, the rate of gas production reduces and eventually the rate of escape exceeds the rate of production and the volume will decrease.  This often coincides with the break down of the gluten structure of the flour and so the 'collapse' can be quite sudden.  The gluten breakdown also assists in the separation of the solids and liquid into layers.

On the subject of how much the volume increases, this will depend to some extent on the shape of the container.  In a tall, narrow container, the walls will provide support to the froth and the starter will be able to 'rise' much higher in the container without collapsing.  If the container is wide and shallow then the observed 'rise' will be much less before the froth is unable to support itself and it collapses.  Because of this, the concept of 'doubling' is very much a moot point. 

Also, what does 'doubling' mean.  If you consider a sphere and you double the diameter, then the volume has increased four times but if you double the volume, the diameter increase is less than 50%.

It sounds to me as if you have a very nice active starter and there should be no reason why you should not be making bread with it.

Make sure you read the Beginners Tutorials that you can access from the Home Page.

Good luck with your projects.


Sandra 2021 January 15

If my starter collapses, does it have to be fed to use or can I use it like it is?

bomberns127 2021 January 24

Hi Sandra, always try and bake when your starter is most active, i bring on my starter in a 440gm glass jar which was bought originally full of apple sauce, i find its the perfect size, in this container it will double in size, i also use the float test, drop a small amount into a cup of water, if it floats its full of life and ready to be used, if your starter goes flat then you have exhausted a lot of the food the yeast needs and it will be at the wrong point of growth if you use it when it is flat

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