Rustic sourdough bread and knife
How Warm Water Can Help Tell If Your Sourdough Starter Is Ready
By Haldan Kirsch
Whether you're just starting a sourdough starter or you've had it going for a few days, you'll need to know the best timing to add it to your sourdough recipe. This is usually when the sourdough has risen to its peak, doubled in volume, and produced a large number of gasses; however, this is more complex than setting a timer and waiting a few hours.
The many qualities of a sourdough starter can change from day to day due to markers like ambient temperature which can make working with sourdough a challenging prospect. Luckily, there is a simple way to master its temperamental changes to make sure you nail the timing simply by using a glass of warm water.
Take a small sample of your bubbling sourdough and place it in a container partly filled with room temperature or warm water. If the sourdough sinks to the bottom, you should wait a little longer before adding it to your dough, but a floating piece of sourdough means it's ready for mixing.
A good way to approximate the time between feeding your sourdough and when it's ready to try the water test is to feed your sourdough and check it every hour. Marking its highest point on the outside of the container as it rises each hour and noting the time it takes to reach its highest point will give you a good idea of when your sourdough will peak.
In order to maintain the accuracy of the results, it's best to maintain the same conditions and ambient temperatures for your sourdough starter. Once you master the water-test technique, the incredible flavors of homemade sourdough will be at your disposal.