Sourdough ratio question



Once I have a working starter what is the ratio of starter to bread mix.

As there's only me here I normally bake a normal loaf every 2 - 3 days using 500gm of flour/320gm water

With sourdough would I use say 200gm starter with 300gm flour/128gm water for the same size loaf?

217 users have voted.


farinam's picture
farinam 2017 April 17

Hello HorseBlanket,

The amount of starter that is used can vary quite widely from quite a small amount to quite a large proportion of the mix.  A Bakers Percentage (ratio to fresh flour * 100) of about 30% is fairly typical but it can be as low as one or two or as much as fifty.  The effect on the recipe will depend both on the quantity and the hydration of the starter.  The effect on the process is likely to be the timing of development and proving and the effect on finished product is likely to be in taste and maybe texture.

My rule of thumb for converting recipes from yeasted to sourdough using a 100% hydration starter is to substitute 180g of freshly activated starter for the yeast and adjust the recipe amounts of flour and water to suit.  In your case then, the recipe would be 180g starter (at 100% hydration), 410g flour, 230g water (and 10g salt).  If your starter hydration is not 100% then you would have to adjust the amounts to suit.  Obviously the whole process of development and proving will take significantly longer than for a yeasted bread.

Good luck with your projects.


HorseBlanket 2017 April 18


Thanks for replying.

Mmm.. It appears to be as complex as I at first thought. I will try your suggestions. My problem is perhaps due to the widely varying 'recipes' available, whether from books or the Internet. I've yet to produce a starter that lasts for more than 3 days! There are more methods than I have fingers & so far none of them work for me. A while back someone gave me some of their starter that they'd been using for a couple of years. After 2 days in my kitchen it had gone off & stank really bad. At that point I gave up having tried & failed many times. But I really love sourdough bread so I'm having another go.

At the time I posted my query I had what appeared to be a healthy starter - it's now dead! So I'll try again.



farinam's picture
farinam 2017 April 19

Hello David,

Have a read, if you haven't already done so, of the Beginners tutorials on this site.  You can access them from the home page in the right hand column.  They cover all aspects of preparing and maintaining a starter through to making and baking.

If you follow, and adapt, the methods given to suit your circumstances you will probably soon wonder what all the fuss was about.  But, if you do have any more questions or concerns do feel free to get back to us.  Or better still, tell us about your successes (or disasters, if you feel so inclined).

Good luck with your projects


HorseBlanket 2017 April 19

Thanks. Every little helps.

I can bake 'normal' loaves OK, it's just this sourdough that has me foxed. Today I baked a really tasty loaf - 1/3 Spelt, 2/3 Khorasan. (Not the best photo)

farinam's picture
farinam 2017 April 19

Hi David,

That does look nice.  And there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to produce similar (or better /;-{)}) results with a sourdough.  It will just take a bit more time to get through the process because of the slower working of the yeasts which have not been selected and purified for speed and reproducibility of action like the commercial yeasts have.

Look forward to your sourdough brag-book and good luck with your projects.



Post Reply

Already a member? Login