You can lower the temperature of your starter or increase the feeding ratio if your starter is rising and falling too quickly. Rising time is much more affected by starter temperature than by feeding ratio.
Reduce the temperature of your starter to slow it down. If it tends to rise too fast on the countertop, try moving it to a cooler spot in your home (such as a windowsill).
Slowing down the rise can also be accomplished by increasing the feeding ratio, although this is difficult.
For example, if your starter is peaking after a 1:1:1 feeding after four hours, you should increase the feeding to a 1:20:20 feeding to double that time.
It is not a good idea to use high feeding ratios to slow down your starter. The purpose of them is to fine-tune.
Put Your Starter on Ice
Following feeding my starter, I immediately place the jar in a bowl of ice on the counter in my kitchen to slow it down if it is too warm.
In this method, the fermentation is delayed until the ice melts and the starter reaches room temperature.
This can delay fermentation by up to 8 hours, depending on how much ice you use.
If you expose your starter to wide temperature swings every day, you should be aware of some implications. Temperatures affect the growth of different types of bacteria.
Acetic acid will be favorably affected by the cooler temperature, while lactic acid will be favored by the warmer temperature. Every time you cool and warm your starter, your bacteria population will become more diverse, which could be beneficial.
Can Sourdough Starter Be Too Active?
Yes, a sourdough starter can indeed become too active. When a sourdough starter is excessively active, it can ferment too quickly, resulting in a dough that rises too rapidly and then collapses, leading to a dense and overly sour final product.
This can be especially problematic during warmer weather or if the starter is kept in a warm environment.
To prevent a sourdough starter from becoming too active, you can adjust the feeding schedule and the feeding ratio.
For example, you can decrease the feeding frequency or reduce the amount of food (flour and water) you provide during each feeding. Additionally, storing the starter in a cooler environment or even refrigerating it can slow down its activity.
Furthermore, maintaining a consistent feeding routine and using a reliable and consistent flour source can help manage the activity of your sourdough starter.
By carefully monitoring the rise and fall of your starter, you can make adjustments as needed to achieve the desired level of activity for your baking needs.
It is sometimes the starter that has been slowed down that makes the tall loaf. Your starter may not be able to handle such a high ratio if your dough doubled so quickly.
Can Starter Rise Too Fast?
Yes, a sourdough starter can rise too fast, especially in warmer temperatures. When a starter rises too quickly, it can lead to over-fermentation, resulting in a sourdough that lacks structure and flavor complexity.
Overly rapid fermentation can also cause the gluten in the dough to weaken, leading to a sticky and unmanageable consistency.
To prevent your sourdough starter from rising too fast, you can make adjustments such as using cooler water when feeding the starter, reducing the feeding frequency, or storing the starter in a cooler environment.
You can also adjust the hydration level by adding more flour to the mixture to slow down the fermentation process.
Additionally, keeping a close eye on your starter during the fermentation process can help you identify any signs of overactivity.
If you notice that your starter is consistently rising and falling within a few hours, it might be a sign that it is rising too fast.
Adjusting the feeding routine and temperature can help regulate the fermentation process and ensure a more balanced rise.
What To Do When My Starter Is Too Active?
Take a small jar and put three or four tablespoons of flour in it before you go to bed. Add filtered water slowly until you achieve the desired consistency.
Generally, I aim for hydration levels between 80 and 90 percent. Nevertheless, it isn’t that important.
Add about half a teaspoon of your existing active starter and mix thoroughly. Leave the jar out over night with a loose lid.
In my case, I have a nice, mature starter waiting for me the next morning.
Depending on the ambient temperature and other conditions, you may need to adjust the amount of starter.
Using less starter if the rise is too fast, more starter if it is too slow.
As an example:
During the night, remove 100 grams of your starter and feed it 150 grams of flour and 150 grams of water.
Try increasing the food and decreasing the starter if that doesn’t work. For example, 50 grams of starter with 175 grams of water and 175 grams of flour.
In addition, you can feed your starter early in the evening and keep it in the refrigerator overnight.
You may be able to use it straight from the fridge with such an active starter. Perform the float test. This has worked for me before.
Depending on how much starter you have, I’d try a few strategies to determine which works best. It’s never too late to make pancakes!