Maintaining Eric Kayser’s Liquid Sourdough Starter

Maintaining Eric Kayser's Liquid Sourdough Starter

Submitted by HCLim on September 12, 2015 – 1:01am.


I just made my first sourdough starter about a week ago, using the instructions given in Eric Kayer’s The Larousse Book of Bread. According to Eric Kayser, the liquid sourdough starter is ready for use on Day 4. I therefore made a boule with the 4-day-old liquid starter and I was much encouraged by the result.


But when it comes to caring for the starter, it seems to me that Eric Kayser’s instructions fly contrary to what I read on the internet. In his book, Eric Kayer suggests refreshing the starter at 3-day intervals by adding only 50% of its weight in water and flour (i.e., if I have 300g of starter, I am to add 75g of water and 75g of flour to refresh the starter.) This translates to a ratio of 4:1:1 for maintaining the starter. I’ve come across suggestions for maintenance ratio on blogs and resources for sourdough baking that ranged from 1:1:1 to 1:5:5 (and I think even 1:10:10), and I also came across cautions made against adding flour and water that are less than the starter in weight. Eric Kayser further does not mention discarding any part of the starter.


I decided to go with the collective wisdom that I read online and refreshed the starter on day 5 using a 1:1:1 ratio. The starter unfortunately turned sluggish and by today, had developed an off smell that’s distinctly different from the pleasant aroma that was present on Day 4. I threw out the starter just now and am now thinking I should perhaps try following Eric Kayser’s instructions to the letter instead. But I’m really curious: Does Eric Kayser’s ratio of 4:1:1 for maintaining the starter sound right to you?

I appreciate any thoughts and feedback on this.