sourdough starter

Top 5 Questions about Sourdough Starter

1. How often should I feed my sourdough starter?

The minimum is once a week for a starter kept in the fridge, or once a day for a starter kept out in room temperature.

It all depends on how often you want to bake with your starter each week. If you don’t use it at all to bake sometimes, then it still needs to be fed once a week if kept in the fridge, or if you bake with it three times a week then you only need to feed it before each time you want to bake with it.

Just remember the key to great sourdough bread ALWAYS begins with am active recently fed starter. Happy starters have lots of bubbles a great sign of active fermentation.

2. Where should I keep my sourdough starter?

Keep at room temp & feed everyday if you bake most days of the week.
Keep in fridge if you plan to use only once a week
When baking with starter stored in the fridge, it is basically in a state of hibernation and needs to be ‘woken’ up and fed before it can be used for baking.

3. How can I use my sourdough starter from the fridge?

My top tip is to feed it as you normally would with equal parts flour to water, however instead of using regular cold water from the tap, use warm tap water (NOT super hot though you don’t want to kill the starter). Then let it rest on the kitchen counter. When the starter has nearly doubled in height and is nice and bubbly, then it is ready for baking! Usually for me this takes around 2 hours.

4. How much should I feed my sourdough starter?

Whatever weight of sourdough starter you have, add the same weight of flour and same weight of water to feed your starter. e.g. You have 100g of sourdough starter, to feed it, add 100g flour and 100g water.

Note ANY flour will do, but less processed more wholegrain flour is always best, organic if possible. Lots more sourdough friendly microbes on the non bleached, organic flour 🙂

If you have too much starter you can always discard the excess starter, it can be used to make great crepes (check out my Crepe recipe), just don’t throw it all away! Keep in mind to bake a 1kg loaf of bread you will need 200g sourdough starter.

5. What do I do if my sourdough starter looks inactive?

If your starter has developed a liquid on the surface and has no bubbles visible, then it is probably just hungry and tired, and needs a good feed. In this case it is a good idea to at least halve the amount of starter in your jar and give it a good feed with equal parts water to flour. Wait 2 hours and see if it starts to become active again.

If there is still no sign of activity, give it more time as it can take much longer in cold temperatures to warm up and get active again, sometimes as much as 12 hours to really get started again.

Don’t forget when you are feeding your sourdough starter that if you have too much starter, it is best to throw some of it away (at least half) and then feed the starter. Remember there is a live culture living in the starter and the more there is to begin with the more hungry mouths there are to ‘feed’ therefore by throwing some of the starter away. Also ensure you always feed a starter its own weight in flour and water, so if you have 250 grams of hungry sourdough starter in your jar, you then need to feed it 250g of flour and 250g of water, that is a lot! Better to throw away 200 grams of starter and then feed the 50g of starter with 50g of flour and 50g of water.

Be Patient, great bread is worth waiting for!

When your starter is ready to bake with I recommend starting with a super easy bread recipe such as my Easy Sourdough Bread Rolls or Sourdough Focaccia. Have fun!

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