Fluid sourdough starter

My sourdough starter seems to be too fluid compared with the one I see on the videos. How can I thicken it up?

Don’t mean to sound blunt but… Add more flour or don’t use as much water.

Thanks, I am about to try that, but I guess what I’m looking for is the WHY, I followed the recipe and instructions closely, and its quite watery. I did use it making the ‘Artisan Whole Grain Sourdough’ and it tuned out perfect, (except I burned the bottom)

A burnt bottom will be in the baking so no worries about your starter there. Otherwise it came out perfect so you managed, even with a more watery starter, to turn out a fine loaf. Even less worry there. So from what I can see its more the curiosity of why this is so rather then where did the bake go wrong.

Well without knowing the nature of your starter or the recipe followed I can can only venture a guess.

1: flour used. Might be the flour you used for your starter is different to the flour in the recipe. Two so called AP or bread flours “by name” can absorb water differently. Depending on where they’re from, how coarse or fine, gluten % etc. So however accurate you try to be there will be variables at play.

2: if you are using cup measurements then this is a very inaccurate way of measuring.

3: how much starter to fresh water and flour for the feed. A starter that needs to be fed will be more degraded, and therefore more watery, than fresh flour and water. A starter that hasn’t been fed in a while will have more gluten breakdown then a young starter that’s just recently been fed and matured. So two starters fed that have the exact same amount of flour and water can feel different. For example…

A: 40g starter + 40g water + 40g flour
B: 10g starter + 55g water + 55g flour

Both 120g, 100% hydration and same flour but might appear different simply because A has had a poorer feed so a higher percentage of over ripe starter but B has had a healthier feed and a lower percentage of over ripe starter. (Obviously if you followed the starter build exactly this will not be the reason)

Thanks Abe. I only use weight measuring. I just added some more flour to my starter, for the moment it thickened it up, will have to see as it ages.
it worked, so I guess I can’t complain too much. Thanks for all the info.

My pleasure, Roger. Remember that recipes are guidelines and while they can give you a certain degree of accuracy one needs to expect variables and adjust. Which you have done! That’s what baking is all about.

P.s. there is no one right hydration for a starter. A starter can be like a dough or very liquid and everything in between. Might bring out different characteristics but all fine. If you’re following a recipe and your starter is different then to bring your starter in line with theirs you can build a levain. But otherwise keep it how it suits you and your needs.