What to Do When the Sourdough Starter Doesn’t Float

What to Do When the Sourdough Starter Doesn’t Float

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A excellent sourdough starter is the foundation of all wonderful loaves of sourdough bread. How do people decide if something is nice or bad? For some, the solution is simple: float. What if your sourdough starter doesn’t float? What are your options?

If you’re looking for a unique way to express yourself, here is the place. This does not imply that your sourdough starter will not function. Look for any indicators that your starter is ready to go.

Hello! My name is Shea, and I’m a self-taught baker on a ten-year mission to become a top-tier baker. I’ve learnt a lot about sourdough starters via my baking activities.

Let’s speak about sourdough starters that float!

What is the “Float Test?”

The float test is a simple method for determining if your sourdough starter is ready.

To do the float test, just fill a cup with water, add a spoonful of sourdough starter to the water, and observe whether or not it floats. If it floats, it means the sourdough starter is ready. Otherwise, the starter need additional time.

Nevertheless, the float test is not necessarily a true reflection of doneness. A young beginning (less than two weeks old, for example) may float, but that doesn’t imply it’s ready to bake. On the other hand, for various causes, the number of elderly citizens on the rise has increased.

Why is My Sourdough Starter Not Floating (3 Reasons)

Many people depend on the float test, even if it is not perfect. After all, making a sourdough starter isn’t the simplest thing in the world. Not only is it difficult to produce, but it is much more difficult to realize when it is finished.

What causes a sourdough starter to sink? There are three major aspects to consider.

1. Low-Protein Flour

One of the biggest reasons your sourdough starts won’t float is because you chose low protein flour. While the wheat will be able to form a robust gluten network for your sourdough bread, it will not be able to float in water.

But, double-check your flour’s protein content. Bread flour has a high protein content, thus it should float readily. Rye that resembles flour? The majority of rye flour contains 13% or less, making it less prone to float in water.

2. Too Much Hydration

It’s all about getting everything exactly right when it comes to creating sourdough starters. A 1:1:1 ratio should be used for the most part. For example, 100 g of water and 100 g of flour every 100 starts.

If you add too much water, the ratio will be thrown off. However, this does not rule out the possibility that your sourdough starter may function when making bread. When exposed to water, however, it transforms into a gloopy, sloppy mess.

3. It’s Been Degassed

Once upon a time, there was a time when it was easy to say, “I’ll do it again,” but now it’s more difficult.

This may occur in two ways. You might, for example, mix the starter before adding it to the water. Even little mixing will cause the starter to de-gas and fail the float test.

Second, you might just be moving the jar too quickly. As you move, it is possible that you could inadvertently bring it closer to you. This may also happen if you place the sourdough starter on the counter roughly.

How to Tell if Sourdough Starter is Ready (3 Signs)

Needless to say, a variety of factors may influence whether your sourdough starter passes the float test. Yet, these flaws may cause the starter to fail the float test while still producing a great loaf of sourdough bread.

Which option is preferable?

Instead of the float test, look for additional signals that your sourdough starter is ready, such as:

1. Bubble Formation

When a sourdough starter is ready to use, a nice bubble formation will appear along the top of the jar. If you come across an excellent bubble structure, it is most certainly suitable for usage.

2. Doubled in Size

As normal, feed your sourdough starter. Then return in approximately four hours. Has the size of your sourdough starter doubled? Then it’s time to go!

3. Sour Smell

When the sourdough starter is ready, it will have a strong sour aroma. Go ahead and take a smell! It’s ready to drink if it’s acidic, contains bubbles, and has doubled in size.

How to Get Sourdough Starter to Float

The 1:1:1 ratio is the greatest approach to assure that your sourdough starter will float (100 grams water and 100 grams flour per 100 grams starter). Be cautious not to add too much water, since this might result in a watery sourdough starter that won’t contain gas and hence won’t float.

It is also advised to use bread with a greater protein content. Bread flour, for example, has a larger protein content than rye flour and will therefore do a better job of retaining water and creating the essential gasses for success.

Finally, while doing the float test, use extreme caution. Being overly rough with the sourdough starter might cause it to de-gas, causing it to sink. While dealing with your beginning, always be gentle.


Now that you’ve mastered the art of troubleshooting, you may return to confidently baking loaves of wonderful sourdough bread! Are you still not pleased with this information? Do you still have any probing questions? Check out the following commonly asked questions!

What happens if sourdough leaven doesn’t float?

If your sourdough starter does not float, try removing half of the leaven and replacing it with new water and flour. This should wake up the starter and pass the float test. Consider the concerns described above as well, since they will prevent your starter from floating.

Do sourdough starters have to pass the float test?

No, not always. If your sourdough starter has a sour fragrance, a large bubble formation along the top, and has doubled in size, you probably don’t need to bother with the float test.

Is Your Sourdough Starter Not Passing the Float Test?

Although the float test is passed by the majority of sourdough starts, even ready and active starters might provide a false negative. A false negative is usually caused by the starter being prepared with too much water, flour with insufficient protein, or being accidently degassed.

Do you use the float test?


What do I do if my sourdough starter doesn’t float?

If your sourdough starter isn’t floating, it might be due to the flour you’re using. Further information on the best flour for sourdough bread may be found here.

What to do if sourdough starter goes flat?

If a sourdough starter isn’t bubbly, it may need to be fed more often. Feeding every 12 hours should be reduced to every 8-10 hours to ensure the culture gets adequate nourishment. Examine the temperature in the cultivation region. Sourdough prefers a constant temperature of 70°F to 85°F.

Why is my sourdough starter bubbling not doubling?

If your starting was bubbly and joyful at one time and is no longer rising, it’s conceivable that it needs a few more feedings to encourage yeast growth. Once you understand how temperature and ingredients affect the rise of your starter, feed it twice a day for a week and watch what occurs.

How do you revive a lazy sourdough starter?

Feed your sourdough starter half ordinary flour (bread flour or all-purpose) and half wheat or rye flour to revitalize it (or make it more active). Rye seems to make sourdough starter more bouncy! It’s possible that your starter is chilly.

How do you activate a dead sourdough starter?

To reactivate the dried sourdough starter, combine equal amounts dried starter and warm water. Let the starter to fully rehydrate before feeding it with equal parts starter, flour, and water.

How do I know if I ruined my sourdough starter?

But, if you see a pink or orange tinge or streak, your sourdough starter has gone bad and should be thrown. The stiff beginning seen above was stored at room temperature for two weeks. It’s time to toss it all out and start afresh.

Can I use my sourdough starter after it has deflated?

If your starter has collapsed, it has reached the end of its fermentation cycle. Feed your starting again and wait only until it doubles and passes the float test before using it.

Does sourdough starter always float?

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.

Should I stir my sourdough starter?

Stir your starting in between feedings – try stirring it twice in between feedings to give it an opportunity to absorb oxygen. This will assist you in activating your starter with little effort.

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