Starting not falling or floating



I've been searching everywhere for an answer to my problem.  I created a starter from scratch a few weeks ago.  The starter rises slowly after feeding but doesn't seem to fall.  My question is should I wait for it to fall before feeding again.  As you can see it has nice bubbles, it hasn't got a crust stopping it from falling.  I tried seeing if it would float yesterday and it sunk :(   It does smell nice, milky and sweet to start with and then sort of fruity.

​Any help would be greatly appreciated.


184 users have voted.


Paul 2017 April 23

starters are incredibly forgiving, I have mine at room temperature feed it irregularly and inaccurate in my measurements, always gets back to bubbly and has survived 11 years. 1 cup tap water 2 cups flour

this is bread I made with it yesterday 

farinam's picture
farinam 2017 April 23

Hello JeanetteAnne,

Just a couple of things.

You are using a fairly tall, narrow container and this will allow a stable 'arch' to form more easily and so it will be less easy for the surface to collapse as the rate of gas production declines as the food supply for the yeasts and bacteria run out.  This is not a problem in and of itself as it is very obvious that your starter is very active having risen up well above the starting point (red rubber band?) and it is very obviously full of gas bubbles.

Therefore, why would you want to muck about trying to do a 'float' test.  I reckon this is one of the greatest furphys that has ever been perpetrated on the sourdough community - that this is a necessary prerequisite test for starter readiness.  I suspect that what is happening is that in extracting the sample to do the float test all of the contained gas (that you can readily see in the container anyway) is being lost through bubble breakage and collapse and there is little or none left in the aliquot that goes into the water and thus it does not float.  Forget the float test.

You have a great looking starter, get on and enjoy your bread baking.

Good luck with your projects.


JeanetteAnne 2017 April 24

Thanks for all the feedback.

Farinam.. thanks for your words of advice and encouragement.  I will follow your advice and just get on with it.

txsjohnny 2017 June 15

JeannettAnne - that is a very beautiful starter you have going there! I am jealous! I also concur with Farinam, ditch the float test. 

RonKnapper 2017 July 3

Sorry to be late to the party, but I've found my starter to not collapse or to collapse depending more on the hydration level than anything else. If it is less wet it has more "body" and doesn't collapse so readily, if it is wetter it collapses fairly easily.

Monique 2020 September 21

Would you mind sharing how your bread came out? My starter has doubled in size and has nice bubbles but it keeps failing the float test. 
thanks in advance! 

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