We love sourdough starters. All shapes and… consistencies? Did you know the consistency of your starter can influence how you approach mixing up your dough?
It's true! The viscosity of your starter depends on its hydration.
Quick lesson: What is Hydration? Hydration in sourdough baking is a percentage measurement of the water compared to the flour.
For example 50g flour and 50g water is the same as 100% hydration because 50/50 = 100% hydration.
Another example is 25g flour and 50g Water... 50/25 = 200% hydration.
Anyway, you didn't come to read about hydration, you came to learn about thick and thin starters!
When we send out our dried sourdough starter packets, the instructions say to make it like a thick pancake batter. That is the viscosity we prefer. We recommend doing this with a 100% hydration - remember, that is 50% flour and 50% water.
Does it matter if my starter is thick or thin, you ask? Nope! Thick and thin starters are both full of wild yeasts and bacteria which is what your bread is begging for. The viscosity of your starter is really just a personal preference because thick and thin starters will both make bread.
Here are a couple short tips and facts to keep in mind:
Thin starter will be very bubbly, but it will be a little harder to work with.
Thicker starter will have only a few bubbles but it will grow much faster.
If you have a very thin starter, decrease the amount of water you add to your sourdough bread
If you have a very thick starter, increase amount of starter you add to your dough
Just remember the ratios you use when you feed your starter and keep them consistent every time you feed it. This will help keep the viscosity of your starter more consistent. Consistency in the viscosity of your starter will help you keep your bread making and loaves more consistent too!
Just some food for thought… no pun intended ;)
All for now,