Before we start with the tips of maintaining hydration in your starter, let us first define what hydration is. The term hydration refers to the percentage of water the baker puts into his starter go here.
Making sure that your starter is well maintained creates a starter that is healthy, active, and fresh, although the tips that will be listed here assumes a starter that already have those characteristics. Remember, this is a maintenance regime, not applicable to those who are just starting to make their starter.
The following will help to store the starter, and makes it always ready whenever you will need to add it to your dough.
Tips for 100% hydration of your starter:
• Make sure that the weight of flour and water components of the starter is equal.
• You should feed your starter at room temperature. Remember the right way of feeding it is to remove a small part, and add new batch of ingredients in the starter.
• When the starter is past the feeding time, it should always be stored inside the refrigerator.
Different ways to know if your starter is 100% hydrated:
• After four to five hours of feeding it at room temperature, its size doubles.
• After it had risen, it still maintains a thickness and elasticity.
• The smell is pleasantly sweet and tangy. If it stings the nose, that is a sign that your starter is not fresh.
• An alcoholic layer of liquid called Hooch forms when stored for a week or so after it had risen.
Different ways to know if your starter is premature or unhealthy:
• It emits an unpleasant odor.
• Layers of liquid forms in the dough a few hours after feeding.
• It takes more time to rise; more than the normal time which is four to six hours.
• The consistency of the dough is not elastic and easily breakable.
And these are the tips of knowing whether you have a healthy starter or not. It is best to be sure that what you actually add in your recipe will improve it and not make it worse.