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How To Fix Sourdough Starter Problems: [The Complete Guide]

A sourdough starter is a sour bread starter where flour and water are mixed to create active sourdough that feeds the yeast bread baking process. It is an invaluable starter for baking bread and baking with yeast. Sourdough starter problems can be frustrating, but there are a few things you can do to help them resolve themselves.

We’ll outline the main steps you need to take to troubleshoot and fix sourdough starter problems. Most of us sourdough bread bakers take sourdough Starter for granted, feeding it flour and water multiple times daily to keep it alive and active.

But do you know there are a lot of common errors in feeding sourdough starters? And knowing how to get your Starter back on track helps you bake bread better. Let’s discuss the 10 most common sourdough Starter fixes mistakes you need to avoid when feeding your Starter.

How To Fix Sourdough Starter Problems

What Is A Sourdough Starter?

What Is A Sourdough Starter

A sourdough starter is a fermentation of flour and water created with the help of yeast. This fermentation results in the development of beneficial bacteria used to make bread. There are different types of sourdough starters, including natural, organic, and sourdough baking mixes.

A natural sourdough starter is made by feeding flour and water to wild yeast or bacteria in the environment. Organic sourdough starters are made by feeding flour and water to healthy yeast grown on organic feed. Finally, baking mixes are a type of sourdough Starter that contains yeast and flour specifically formulated for making bread.

10 Common Fixes To Sourdough Starter Problems With Solutions

10 Common Fixes To Sourdough Starter Problems With Solutions

If you’re experiencing problems with your sourdough Starter, there are a few things that you can do to try and fix them. Make sure that the environment in which your Starter is living is as consistent as possible. This means that the temperature, humidity, and air quality should always be similar.

If you’re unable to keep your Starter in a consistent environment, you may need to transfer it to a new home. Make sure you’re feeding your Starter the right flour and water. Too little or too much flour can cause it to become difficult to rise or produce sour flavors. Finally, make sure that you’re keeping an eye on it so that you can adjust its mixture as needed.

1.What Helps A Struggling Sourdough Starter?

What Helps A Struggling Sourdough Starter

If a sourdough starter is struggling, it’s important to address the underlying cause of the problem. Rising temperatures and wet ingredients can help a struggling sourdough starter thrive, but there are other factors to consider. If a starter is too acidic, it may become sickly and inactive, so it’s important to raise the pH of the Starter using lactic acid or vinegar.

Additionally, not enough yeast can make a starter unable to create its signature sour flavor, so it’s vital to replace the amount of yeast if it seems inactive. Finally, too much flour in a sourdough starter can result in an overly floury dough that is difficult to shape into bread or buns. Rather than adding excess flour, try using less flour when creating new sourdough starters to remain active and flavorful for longer periods.

2.How Do I Know If I Killed My Sourdough Starter?

How Do I Know If I Killed My Sourdough Starter

If you have not used your sourdough Starter in a while, you likely killed it. If your sourdough Starter has gone moldy or smells foul, it is time to revive it. To do so, mix 3 parts flour and 1 part water and let sit for 12 hours.

After this period, the sourdough Starter should return to its normal consistency. If you have been using your sourdough Starter regularly, but it has yet to produce rise, there may be something wrong with the culture or environment.

If you have been using your sourdough Starter and it has been producing rise, but it does not taste good, there may be something wrong with the ingredients used to make the Starter. Finally, if your sourdough Starter has been producing rise and tasting good, but the dough needs to be rising better, there may be something wrong with the flour mixture you’ve used to make the sourdough Starter.

3.What If My Starter Smells Bad (And What Does “Good” Smell Like)?

What If My Starter Smells Bad (And What Does "Good" Smell Like)

If your Starter smells bad, there’s likely something wrong with it. If it doesn’t smell “good,” that indicates fermentation interference, which means the yeast may struggle to make enough fermentation. The yeast may be too active, or the temperature of the jar could be too warm or too low.

If you suspect fermentation interference, start with a new batch of Starter and see if it rises as expected. If your Starter is not rising as expected, try adding more water or flour to the jar to create more starter consistency.

Whether you are a baker, it may be time to discard the old Starter and begin with a new batch of fresh flour and water. If your Starter is rising but is starting to smell bad, it could be time to add more yeast. However, if your Starter does not rise or smells bad, there may be too much salt or sugar in the recipe. It’s best to test out different baking ratios until you find one that works for your sourdough Starter.

4.What If I See Mold In My Starter?

What If I See Mold In My Starter

If you see mold in your Starter, do not use the Starter to make bread. Instead, remove any moldy material from the Starter using a spoon or your hands. Then mix 1 cup of white flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour into the Starter, and replace the water.

Keep the Starter in a warm place (between 77 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit). Make bread using the new mixture within 3-4 days. When making bread with a sourdough starter, follow the baking directions provided on your sourdough baking recipe closely to avoid moldy bread.

5.Why Does My Sourdough Starter Rise And Then Fall?

Why Does My Sourdough Starter Rise And Then Fall

A sourdough starter can fail for many reasons, but the most common causes are too much or insufficient hydration of the flour or water used to make the Starter. When this happens, the fermentation process of sourdough bread doesn’t occur properly, resulting in flat and lifeless bread. You can take many steps to diagnose and solve sourdough starter problems.

If your Starter is rising and falling rapidly, you must carefully check the ingredients and proportions of the starter mixture. It’s also important to rehydrate the sourdough Starter if it appears dry before using it. Finally, it’s vital to keep sourdough Starter refrigerated if you’re not immediately baking with it. If the problem persists, try checking your flour type and hydration levels, as these factors can significantly impact sourdough fermentation.

6.My Starter Doesn’t Rise Very High In Its Jar; How Can I Get It To Rise Higher?

You can do a few things to help your Starter rise higher in its jar. If your Starter is too wet, add flour or water to the jar until it feels light and airy. If your Starter is too dry, add a little water to the jar and stir it gently. Try adding more flour or water to the Starter if none of these solutions work.

If none of these solutions work, you should start with a new starter. If all else fails, you can try to culture the Starter in another container, such as an empty food container with holes poked in it.

7.Is A Sourdough Starter Supposed To Be Liquid (Or Runny)?

Is A Sourdough Starter Supposed To Be Liquid (Or Runny)

If your sourdough Starter is supposed to be liquid (or runny), it needs to do its job. You should see a rise and fall in the temperature of the Starter over time – it should stay around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit most of the time, but it should occasionally spike up to 90 degrees or higher. If it’s too liquid (or runny), this will cause problems because the yeast will not be able to survive in that environment.

To fix this problem, you need to improve your sourdough Starter’s hydration level. You can do this by adding more flour, water, or both until the desired consistency is reached. You can also try re-seeding the Starter with fresh yeast.

8.Why Doesn’t My Sourdough Starter Have Big Bubbles?

Why Doesn't My Sourdough Starter Have Big Bubbles

There are a few reasons your sourdough Starter may not be bubbling as it should. It could be that the water was too warm when you started it, or it may have been contaminated with yeast or wild yeast. Adjusting the temperature of your Starter or adding more flour to help combat these issues.

It’s also possible that the Starter is exhausted and needs to be rejuvenated before it can start bubbling again. To do this, mix 1 cup of flour with 3 cups of warm water and stir until well combined. Then, pour the mixture into a container large enough to fit the Starter and let it sit for 8-12 hours at room temperature (or in a warmer environment). After that time has passed, your Starter should be ready to go!

9.I Ran Out Of The Flour I Use To Feed My Sourdough Starter; Can I Use Different Flour?

I Ran Out Of The Flour I Use To Feed My Sourdough Starter; Can I Use Different Flour

Yes, you can use any flour as a feeding medium for your sourdough Starter. However, it is important to check the ingredients list on the flour packaging to ensure that it is suitable for feeding a sourdough starter. The type of flour used will affect the consistency of the bread and its flavor, so consider trying different types of flour to find one that suits your tastes best. Also, avoid feeding your sourdough Starter with too much or too little flour.

Too much flour can lead to problems such as fermentation slowdown or yeast poisoning while feeding your sourdough Starter. Too little flour can result in a lack of nutrients that could harm your sourdough Starter’s health.

If you run out of flour and your sourdough Starter is not responding well, try using more water instead of flour. This could help balance the acidity of the feeding medium and increase feeding efficiency. If you still need help with your sourdough Starter, consult a professional Sourdough Starter Consultant for assistance.

10.How Do I Make My Sourdough Starter More Active?

How Do I Make My Sourdough Starter More Active

Add more water or flour to the mixture to make your sourdough Starter more active. This will help promote yeast and bacteria growth, resulting in a more sour and tangy bread. The more yeast and bacteria are in your Starter, the quicker it will become active. You can allow your sourdough Starter to ferment for a longer period. This will yield bread with a stronger sour flavor.

Keep your sourdough Starter at a warm temperature, between 80 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. This will promote the growth of yeast and bacteria, resulting in bread with a stronger sourness. You can also remove expired bread from your sourdough Starter before using it to promote freshness and fermentation. If necessary, you can add wild yeast to increase the fermentation rate of your Starter.


If you’re getting different results each time you try to create a sourdough starter, there are a few things that you can do to troubleshoot the problem. First, make sure that your water is cold and fresh. If it’s not, your yeast won’t be able to work properly, and you’ll end up with a sourdough starter that’s difficult to manage.

Knowing the above solutions to sourdough starter problems can make feeding and maintaining your Starter much easier. Besides, it will help you get your Starter working as soon as possible.

And as mentioned earlier, sourdough starters take time to develop and feed. Sourdough starters are a great way to make your bread and other baked goods without spending much money. However, they can sometimes fail, which can lead to frustration. Problems. Sourdough starters are a great way to make your bread, but they can often be challenging to maintain. We’ve shared some tips on how to fix common sourdough starter problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.What Is A Sourdough Starter, And How Do You Make It?

Ans: A sourdough starter is an organic mixture of flour, water, and live yeast. By leaving it to ferment, you create a sourdough starter that can help bake bread. If your sourdough Starter is not working properly, you can follow a few tips to fix the problem. First of all, make sure that the ingredients are mixed well. Secondly, ensure the correct temperature if the Starter is not active or bubbling. Finally, ensure that the flour, water, and yeast are quality.

2.How Do I Tell If My Sourdough Starter Could Be Better?

Ans: If you have not used your sourdough Starter in a while and it does not seem to be working well, it may not be good. To test if your sourdough Starter is bad, put 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water into a bowl and stir. If the Starter forms a thick dough, it isn’t good. To fix a bad sourdough starter, mix 1 cup of water with 1 cup of flour and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Then add the Starter back to the bread machine or mixer.

3.Is There Anything Else That Can Go Wrong With A Sourdough Starter?

Ans: If you need help getting your sourdough Starter to work properly, something else may go wrong. Here are a few things that could be causing the problem:

  • The flour and water mixture is too dry or wet
  • Is the temperature too high or low
  • There’s not enough sourdough culture available

4.How Do You Fix A Sourdough Starter Problem?

Ans: If you’re having problems with your sourdough Starter, there are a few things you can do to try and fix it. Here are the most common solutions:

  • Add more flour to the mixture: This will help to feed the yeast and make it active again.
  • Pour boiling water over the Starter: This will kill any bacteria present and replace any lost moisture.
  • Let the Starter sit out in the open air: This will help to air it out and revive it.

5.Why Do Some People Have Trouble With Sourdough Starters?

Ans: There are a few different reasons why people might have trouble with sourdough starters. Sometimes, the Starter may need to be more active, or it may need more water or flour. Other times, the Starter may become overgrown and difficult to control.

To fix these problems, you first check to see if the problem is related to water or flour availability. If you’re using too much water or flour, then the Starter won’t be able to create a sourdough environment and will instead just become a regular bread dough. If this is the case, you’ll need to reduce the water or flour used until the Starter becomes active again.

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