Sourdough Starter Not Rising: 6 Reasons and Solutions

Sourdough Starter Not Rising: 6 Reasons and Solutions

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A sourdough starter is required for preparing a new batch of sourdough bread. Sourdough starter is a combination of bacteria and yeast, both of which are required for the right rise and taste in your loaf.

As simple as a sourdough starter recipe may seem, this essential element may be rather unique and difficult to make. One of the most common problems individuals have is their sourdough starter not rising, which may be caused by a variety of factors.

Hey! I’m Shea, and I’ve made a lot of sourdough starters. Like you, I’ve suffered with the sourdough starter not rising. I’m here to explain the six most common reasons your sourdough isn’t rising and, more importantly, how to cure it.

Let’s go! Start your sourdough starter engine!

Why Your Sourdough Starter Isn’t Rising and How to Fix It

Many obstacles may stand between you and a perfectly-risen sourdough starter. The good news is that these issues are easily resolved, and your startup will be back on track in no time.

Reason 1: Your Starter is Hungry

To rise, a sourdough starter must be fed often. You might think of your sourdough starter as your new family pet. Instead of playing and cleaning up after your pet, your new buddy will bake you wonderful loaves of bread.

Solution: Increase the frequency with which you feed your sourdough starter. If you’re just feeding it once a day, increase it to twice a day (ideally every 12 hours). Are you still having trouble? Add another spoonful of starter (equal parts flour and water).

Reason 2: You’re Using the Wrong Flour

While practically any flour may be used for sourdough starters, bread flour produces the finest results. Bread flour is unquestionably the best option due to its high protein level, which guarantees a fantastic sourdough bread every time.

Solution: Replace all-purpose flour with bread flour. If you’re moving to a different flour, you should make a fresh batch of sourdough starters. Switching flours in the middle of a recipe might be disastrous for your sourdough starter.

Reason 3: You’re Using the Wrong Water

At this point, sourdough starter is beginning to sound a little fancy. And, indeed, it is. There is no shame in the game of sourdough starters, and it takes the proper sort of water. You may be unwittingly preventing your sourdough starter from rising if you’ve been using tap or filtered water.

What’s going on? Well, both tap and filtered water may include toxins and other harsh substances that kill sourdough starts.

approach: The simplest approach is to try bottled water. Bottled water has the fewest possible sourdough starter inhibiting components.

Reason 4: You’re Starter Needs a Boost

Everyone, even your sourdough starter, gets weary every now and again. If you observe some activity from your sourdough starter but it isn’t completely rising, it might mean that it needs to be boosted.

Solution: For the following several feedings, double the flour while keeping the water and starting ratios same. The additional flour might help your sourdough starter get going.

Reason 5: It’s Sitting in the Wrong Temperature

The ideal temperature for your sourdough starter is about 78 degrees Fahrenheit. While you may store your sourdough starter in the refrigerator, doing so might cause the rising process to slow down or even stop.

Solution: Relocate your sourdough starts to a warmer location. If the temperature inside your kitchen is below 76 degrees Fahrenheit, you may need to locate a warmer location to store it. Try it on the windowsill, where direct sunshine heats it somewhat, or in the oven (turned off with the light on).

Reason 6: It Needs More Time

Making a sourdough starter is a low-tech and time-consuming technique. It will take at least a week before it is ready to make sourdough bread. Needless to say, this is a long time to wait, particularly if you’re yearning a fresh loaf.

Solution: Not giving a sourdough starter enough time is one of the most frequent blunders people make while making one. Continue as before for a few more days to observe if the findings change. If it has been more than 10 days, another problem may be causing the delay.


You now understand the six causes of a sourdough starter failing to rise and how to troubleshoot it for success. Check out these commonly asked questions by other readers like you if you want to learn even more.

Should I stir my sourdough starter?

You should mix your sourdough starter every time you feed it. This implies that you will need to mix your sourdough starter once or twice a day. Oh, and if you notice liquid on top of your sourdough starter, it’s safe hooch that may be mixed with the components.

How do I know if I killed my sourdough starter?

There are many methods for determining whether your sourdough starter is dead. The most obvious indicator is that your sourdough starter is not responding to feedings, particularly after a few days. Mold and a foul odor are also influencing factors.

How do I get big bubbles in my sourdough starter?

Anyone making a sourdough starter wishes for large bubbles. The easiest method to achieve this is to feed it on a regular basis. If it’s runny, try feeding it once or twice with simply flour. Stir it up and leave the lid slightly ajar to enable oxygen to enter. Make sure it’s in a warm enough (but not too warm) atmosphere.

Is Your Sourdough Starter Not Rising?

Sourdough starter may be a pain, particularly when it refuses to rise. Fortunately, the answers to this tricky predicament are straightforward. The majority of the time, it just requires extra time and feedings. It might, however, be a problem with the wheat, water, or temperature.

How do you handle sourdough starts that aren’t rising?


Why is my sourdough starter not rising but producing hooch?

My sourdough starter contains hooch, but it is not rising. If your sourdough starter contains hooch, it means it is hungry and will not rise. The mixture in the jar rises as the sourdough starter eats food and the yeast produces CO2 gas. You will see bubbles growing on the jar’s surface.

How do I get my sourdough starter more active?

8 Ways to Boost Sourdough Starter
Booster Flour: Rye or Whole-Grain. Adding whole-grain flour, especially rye, to your starter offers many advantages.
Increase the frequency with which you feed it.
Increase the water-to-flour ratio.
Increase the flow of oxygen.
Reduce the water content.
Examine the temperature.
Make use of filtered water.
Overhaul of the Starter.

How do you feed a sluggish sourdough starter?

If you don’t observe any expansion after 12 hours, vigorously agitate the starting. Don’t stir it after it begins spreading so you can keep track of everything. Your starter will ultimately grow, although it may take more than a day.

Can you overfeed sourdough starter?

Yes, your sourdough starter may be overfed. According to Audrey, “every time you add more flour and water, you are depleting the existing population of natural bacteria and yeast.” If you keep adding more and more, the starter will get so diluted that you will just have flour and water.

Can I use my starter if it doesn’t float?

To 1 cup of room temperature water, add 1 teaspoon of your starting. If it floats, your starter is ready to use in the oven. The problem is that certain beginnings, particularly those produced with rye or whole wheat flour, might be ready for baking but not float, which is why the double volume test is recommended.

How do you refresh a tired sourdough starter?

To the remaining starter, add 4 ounces (113g) room temperature water and 4 ounces (113g) flour. Cover and mix until smooth. Allow the starter to sit at room temperature (ideally about 70°F) for 2 to 4 hours, or until it begins to show signs of life; this allows the yeast to warm up and begin eating.

Do you discard every time you feed sourdough starter?

The normal maintenance feeding approach should be used to feed the room-temperature starter every 12 hours (twice a day): discard everything except 113g, then feed that 113g starter with 113g each of water and flour.

How often should I stir my sourdough starter?

To keep your starting at room temperature, do the following: Thoroughly mix the beginning.
This method should be repeated every 12 hours, with the starting being fed twice a day.
Refrigerate your starting by doing the following: Remove the starting from the refrigerator; there may be some liquid on top.

What happens if you let sourdough sit too long?

You can bulk ferment sourdough for an extended period of time. The dough will become “over fermented” if left to ferment for an extended period of time. Over fermented dough loses structure and becomes a soupy, sloppy mass that is impossible to form.

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