Skip to content

Why Is My Sourdough Starter Not Rising After 7 Days?

Are you feeling frustrated and disheartened because your sourdough starter hasn’t risen after 7 days? It’s time to uncover the truth behind this mystery.

You might be wondering why your beloved starter is not showing any signs of life. Well, fear not, because there are several possible reasons for this setback.

It could be due to an insufficient feeding schedule, an incorrect flour to water ratio, unsuitable environmental conditions, the presence of inhibitory ingredients, a lack of wild yeast activity, or even contamination or mold growth.

But don’t worry, my friend, with patience and persistence, you’ll soon be on your way to a thriving and bubbly sourdough starter that will make you feel like you truly belong in the world of bread-making.

Key Takeaways

  • Feeding frequency is crucial for the development of a healthy sourdough starter, and it’s recommended to feed daily or even twice a day during warmer temperatures.
  • Using high-quality flour, preferably unbleached and organic, provides more nutrients for the yeast and bacteria, promoting fermentation.
  • Maintaining the correct flour to water ratio is essential for a thriving sourdough culture, as too much water can result in a weak structure and too much flour can impede yeast activity.
  • Proper temperature control between 70°F and 85°F (21°C and 29°C) is crucial for optimal rise, as both low and high temperatures can negatively impact yeast activity.

Insufficient Feeding Schedule

You may be experiencing a lack of rising in your sourdough starter after 7 days due to not feeding it enough. Feeding frequency plays a crucial role in the development of a healthy and active sourdough starter. For optimal results, it’s recommended to feed your starter daily, or even twice a day during warmer temperatures. By feeding your starter regularly, you provide it with fresh nutrients and maintain the activity of the yeast and bacteria.

Another factor that can affect the rising of your sourdough starter is the quality of flour used. Using high-quality flour, preferably unbleached and organic, can greatly contribute to the success of your sourdough starter. Such flours have a higher protein content, which provides more nutrients for the yeast and bacteria to feed on. Additionally, they tend to have fewer additives that may hinder the fermentation process.

To ensure the proper rising of your sourdough starter, it’s essential to follow a consistent feeding schedule and use high-quality flour. By doing so, you create an environment that promotes the growth of beneficial microorganisms, leading to a more active and robust starter. Remember, the key to a successful sourdough starter lies in providing it with the right nourishment and care.

Incorrect Flour to Water Ratio

If your sourdough starter isn’t rising after 7 days, it could be due to an imbalanced flour to water ratio. The flour hydration plays a crucial role in the fermentation process and affects the overall rise of your starter. To create a thriving sourdough culture, it’s essential to maintain the correct ratio of flour to water.

Also Read:  Can You Use Bleached Flour For Sourdough Starter?

The flour and water in your starter need to be in harmony for optimal fermentation. The water hydrates the flour, allowing the enzymes to break down the starches into sugars that yeast can consume. This process generates carbon dioxide gas, which causes the dough to rise.

An incorrect flour to water ratio can disrupt this delicate balance. If there’s too much water, the dough might become too wet, resulting in a weak structure and insufficient rise. On the other hand, if there’s too much flour, the dough might be too dry, impeding the activity of the yeast and hindering fermentation.

To ensure the proper hydration, it’s crucial to measure the flour and water accurately. Use a kitchen scale for precise measurements, as volume measurements can vary. Adjusting the ratio by adding more flour or water can help correct the imbalanced hydration.

Unsuitable Environmental Conditions

Maintaining suitable environmental conditions is crucial for the optimal rise of your sourdough starter. If your sourdough starter isn’t rising after 7 days, it could be due to ineffective temperature or improper storage. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Temperature: Sourdough starters thrive in a specific temperature range, typically between 70°F and 85°F (21°C and 29°C). If the temperature is too low, the yeast activity may slow down, resulting in a sluggish rise. On the other hand, if the temperature is too high, the yeast may become too active and exhaust itself, leading to a collapsed or deflated starter.
  • Storage: Improper storage can also hinder the rise of your sourdough starter. Make sure to store your starter in a clean, airtight container to prevent contamination. Additionally, avoid storing it in direct sunlight or near heat sources, as extreme temperatures can kill the yeast and bacteria responsible for fermentation.

To address these issues, try adjusting the temperature of your sourdough starter by placing it in a warmer or cooler spot, depending on the situation. If the storage conditions aren’t ideal, transfer your starter to a suitable container and find a more suitable location for it.

Presence of Inhibitory Ingredients

One possible reason for your sourdough starter not rising after 7 days could be the presence of inhibitory ingredients. Certain ingredients can have negative effects on the fermentation process, preventing the growth of yeast and bacteria necessary for rising. It’s important to identify these inhibitory ingredients and take the necessary steps to rectify the situation.

One common inhibitory ingredient is salt. While salt is essential for flavor, excessive amounts can hinder fermentation. To troubleshoot this issue, you can reduce the amount of salt in your recipe or experiment with different types of salt that may have less inhibitory effects.

Another potential inhibitory ingredient is oil. Adding oil to your sourdough starter can interfere with the development of gluten, resulting in a denser texture and less rise. To overcome this, you can try reducing the amount of oil or omitting it entirely from your recipe.

Also Read:  What Are Some Troubleshooting Tips for a Sourdough Starter That Seems Too Weak?

The effects of temperature can also play a role in inhibiting the rise of your sourdough starter. If the temperature is too low, fermentation may be slowed down or halted altogether. Conversely, if the temperature is too high, it can kill off the yeast and bacteria. It’s important to maintain an optimal temperature range for the fermentation process to occur successfully.

Lack of Wild Yeast Activity

To determine if lack of wild yeast activity is the reason your sourdough starter isn’t rising after 7 days, assess the presence of bubbles or signs of fermentation. This can be done by observing the surface of your starter and checking for small bubbles or a foamy appearance. If you see no signs of fermentation, it’s possible that your starter lacks wild yeast activity.

Here are some troubleshooting tips and alternative methods to address this issue:

  • Ensure that you’re using the right flour: Wild yeast thrives on the natural sugars present in whole grain flours, so using a high-quality whole wheat or rye flour may help activate the yeast in your starter.
  • Adjust the temperature: Wild yeast is sensitive to temperature, so try placing your starter in a warmer environment, such as near a radiator or on top of the refrigerator.
  • Feed your starter more frequently: Increasing the frequency of feedings can help introduce more yeast into your starter and encourage their activity.
  • Incorporate fruit or fruit juice: Adding a small amount of organic fruit or fruit juice to your starter can provide additional wild yeast and help kickstart the fermentation process.

Contamination or Mold Growth

If you notice any signs of contamination or mold growth in your sourdough starter, it’s important to address this issue promptly. Contamination or mold growth can hinder the fermentation process and prevent your sourdough starter from rising properly. To troubleshoot this issue, it’s crucial to identify the source of the contamination and take steps to prevent it from happening again.

First, check your ingredients and utensils for any signs of mold or contamination. Make sure that your flour, water, and containers are clean and free from any foreign substances. It’s also important to maintain good hygiene practices when handling your sourdough starter, such as washing your hands thoroughly before and after handling it.

If you suspect that your sourdough starter has been contaminated, it’s best to discard it and start fresh. This will help prevent any further contamination and ensure the health of your new starter. To prevent contamination in the future, consider using a clean and airtight container to store your sourdough starter. Additionally, avoid using wooden utensils or bowls, as they can harbor bacteria and mold.

Patience and Persistence

Be patient and persistent with your sourdough starter, as it takes time for the fermentation process to fully develop. Developing flavor in your sourdough starter requires a combination of time and attention. Don’t be discouraged if your starter isn’t rising after 7 days; it may take longer for the fermentation to reach its peak.

Also Read:  How Long Can I Store Sourdough Bread?

Here are some troubleshooting techniques to help you along the way:

  • Maintain consistent feeding: Feed your starter regularly, ideally at the same time every day. This helps establish a routine and encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria and yeast.
  • Adjust feeding ratios: If your starter isn’t rising, try increasing the flour to water ratio or vice versa. This can give the yeast more food to work with and stimulate fermentation.
  • Temperature control: Ensure your starter is kept at a consistent temperature between 70°F and 85°F (21°C and 29°C). Extreme temperatures can slow down or inhibit fermentation.
  • Give it more time: Sometimes, it simply takes longer for the fermentation process to fully develop. Be patient and allow your starter to mature. It may take a few more days or even weeks before you see significant rise.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use All-Purpose Flour Instead of Bread Flour in My Sourdough Starter?

You can use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour in your sourdough starter. It may alter the texture and rise slightly, but it should still work. Troubleshooting common issues with sourdough starters can help improve results.

How Often Should I Discard and Feed My Sourdough Starter?

You should discard and feed your sourdough starter regularly to maintain its health and activity. The frequency of discarding and feeding depends on various factors like room temperature and desired fermentation speed.

Can I Speed up the Rising Process by Adding More Yeast to My Sourdough Starter?

Adding more yeast to your sourdough starter won’t necessarily speed up the rising process. Troubleshoot slow rising by ensuring proper temperature, hydration, and feeding schedule. Patience is key when it comes to the fermentation process.

Is It Normal for My Sourdough Starter to Have a Strong Sour Smell?

It’s normal for your sourdough starter to have a strong sour smell. To reduce the smell, try different methods like feeding more frequently or using a different flour. Troubleshoot and fix a non-rising starter by adjusting hydration, temperature, or feeding ratios.

Can I Use Tap Water Instead of Filtered Water to Feed My Sourdough Starter?

Using tap water instead of filtered water to feed your sourdough starter may have disadvantages. Filtered water benefits by removing impurities that can hinder fermentation. Consider using filtered water for optimal results.


In conclusion, if your sourdough starter isn’t rising after 7 days, there could be several reasons for this.

  • It’s important to ensure you have a proper feeding schedule, correct flour to water ratio, and suitable environmental conditions.
  • Additionally, inhibitory ingredients, lack of wild yeast activity, contamination, or mold growth may be hindering the rise.
  • It’s crucial to be patient and persistent in troubleshooting the issue to achieve a successful sourdough starter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *