top of page

GETTING TO KNOW YOUR STARTER

Have you named your starter?  This is crucial;

you are less likely to kill it if it has a name ;)   

60780784623__449AB38B-2444-468A-879E-62C
Getting To Know Your Starter: Welcome

CONGRATULATIONS!!

You are the proud parent of a new Sourdough Starter Baby!  Your little starter has served me and others well and, with a little love and care, will continue to do so for you too!

I received my starter from my friend Mike, and his guidance was instrumental to me as I got started. To pay it forward, here are a few tips to help it adjust in your kitchen!

Getting To Know Your Starter: Text

FEEDING YOUR STARTER

To begin, place your starter jar on your digital kitchen scale

DISCARD

Your must to discard 1/2 of what is in the jar before every feed. Don't worry - there are many wonderful recipes that utilize discard so it doesn't go to waste - HERE are some of my favorites!   I know it seems counterintuitive but HERE is the science behind why we discard at feeds.

WATER

Hit tare/zero on your scale. Pour 50 grams of water into your starter jar. The yeast in your starter does not like chlorine, which is found in most drinking water.  Feed your starter room temperature bottled water OR put water in a pitcher and let sit out overnight so the chlorine in the water can evaporate out before you feed.

FLOUR

Hit tare/zero on your scale. Scoop 50 grams of flour into your starter jar. Your starter will be happy eating All Purpose or Whole Wheat flour.  I like to feed mine a 50%/50% blend of Whole Wheat and AP flour, but you can use what you have.

MIX

I use a chopstick to mix it all up in the jar, and then I scrape the sides of the jar down with a spatula.  Move the rubber band to the line of where the level of the mixture is located.  That way, you’ll know when your starter doubles in size.  This is important information when learning when you should use your starter.

Getting To Know Your Starter: List

WHY FEED YOUR STARTER?

Your starter is filled with living yeast and helpful bacteria that need to eat.  Eating the water and sugars in the flour at feeds is what causes your yeast to exhale carbon dioxide—that’s why you see those great air bubbles in the starter.  If you want to bake, you want your starter to be active and strong (ready, growing and producing lots of frothy air bubbles).  So, I feed mine twice a day for a day or 2 before I bake.  That gets it really active.  Remember that you have to discard 1/2 of what is in the jar before every feed.

I save my discard in a tupperware in the fridge until I’m ready to use it.  If you are interested in learning more about the science behind starters, leavens (levains) and wild yeast, this is a great primer.

You will notice that your starter rises after a feed, reaching its peak 6-9 hours after feeding depending on how warm you are keeping it.  If your starter isn’t doubling after a feed, try making it a bit cozier and make sure you are always discarding before a feed.  Feeding a starter twice a day when you are making a lot of bread is a good idea as this gets it to become very active.  This is a good primer on what makes a strong starter and how to know when it is ready.

Getting To Know Your Starter: List

STORING YOUR STARTER

STORING WHILE YOU PLAN TO BAKE

I like to keep my starter in a mason jar so it has room to grow.  When you are planning to bake, keep your starter out at room temp.  Starter does not like to be cold or drafty; it likes to be cozy.  In the winter my kitchen is a bit drafty, so I keep mine wrapped in a towel under the under cabinet lighting in my kitchen.  This helps my starter stay around 80 degrees and it is happy there.  In the summer, my starter loves to hang out on my porch as long as its under 90 degrees. When mine is out, I don’t screw the lid of the jar on; I just lightly place it on top.

A NOTE ON STORING YOUR STARTER IN THE OVEN...

Some people like to store their starter in the oven because they can put their oven light on and close the door and it will keep their little baby at a nice cozy 80 or 85 degrees pretty reliably.  This is true and all fun and games until your husband decides to make dinner and pre-heats your sweet little baby starter to 350 degrees, thus killing it forever.  If you don't live alone, best to find another way that doesn’t require someone to check the oven before preheating each time. You can do a lot of things to your starter and it will forgive you, but heating it up past 100 degrees is not one of them.

STORING WHEN YOU PLAN TO TAKE A BREAK FROM BAKING

When you want a break from baking, you can store it in the fridge after a feed. You can screw the top on your jar at this point.  You can safely store your starter in the fridge for a week or two and then you need to take it out again to feed.  Let it come to room temp, discard half and feed as normal.  It should be good as new within in 1 or 2 feeds.  If your are going to be unable to bake for longer than two weeks you have two options: find a friend willing to feed your starter, OR dehydrate your starter.

Getting To Know Your Starter: List
bottom of page