How To Care For Your Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Feeding instructions
How to care for your sourdough starter

Okay I have The Starter Now What Do I Do?

Love is like a sourdough start. You have to keep some for yourself so you can keep on loving

By Thomas Leonard

Okay now its time to take great care of our Sourdough starter! If you want to make a starter from scratch click here for directions.

  • Your Sourdough needs a name! If you haven’t named her yet you need to. (it should already be done if you made your own start, but if you were given your start by someone else, you need to name her) Mine is clearly a girl, her name is Honey Buns but I call her Honey for short. You will take much better care of him/her if you name it. Its like a pet you need to care for everyday 🙂

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What Kitchen Tools You Need To Have

  • Small bowls or cups to put your flour and water in to measure (these are some of the bowls I use, I also use what ever is around me that will work LOL)
  • Rubber/Plastic/Wooden long narrow spatula for storing in your jar (the one below is the exact one I use)

  • A Square scale to weigh everything and yes, you do want to weigh everything as close to a exact as you can. I have one similar to this style. Just make sure you can measure things in grams and you should be good.
  • Glass jar, it should already be in a glass jar, if it is not then I would get a wide mouth glass jar mine is really big it can hold 8/10 cups. Yours doesn’t have to be this big but for me I like big so I don’t ever have to worry about over flow with my two cups of start.

How Often To Change Out The Start

  • Okay if you plan to cook bread daily you will take out the right grams of start every night. Then replace it with the equal amounts So if you take out 170 grams of starter, you put back in 85 grams purified water and 85 grams organic flour.
  • If you plan to make bread every other day then you will change out the start every other night.
  • If you plan to do just like once a week then you will keep it in the fridge (we will talk about this one farther down).

How To Feed Your Start

  • Regardless of how often you decide to cook/use your starter, here is the process

**** It is very important you remember this detail, ALWAYS reset your scale to 0 grams. So what I mean is this, if you put a glass bowl on you scale it will weigh the bowl. Hit the reset button and now even with the bowl on it it should be reading 0 grams again. Now when you add the flour or water the only thing being weighed is the flour or the water. Every time you start to weigh some thing new always remember to hit the reset button after you put the bowl on it so the only thing the scale is reading is the ingredients ****

1 – Take out 170 grams of start – Now you can either use this discarded starter or you can just throw it away – (See our recipes for your discard start for Sourdough biscuits, pancakes, bread, waffles, and scones). NEVER THROW AWAY ALL YOUR STARTER!!!

***side note if you have a big jar like I do, that can hold 8/10 cups worth of dough and you only have 2 cups in the jar you really only need to take out starter three times a week, it keeps it healthy and strong. Otherwise just plan on every other day. Or every day if making bread daily. You just don’t want your starter to grow out of the jar and its good for it to be changed out, it keeps it healthy and strong.

2 – Now to replace what you just took out. Make sure you use equal parts

3 – Measure out 85 grams of water and 85 grams of flour make sure to use a very nice flour. I get mine from a flour warehouse that sales unbleached flour. Some examples are Spelt Flour or General Milling or King Arthur are all great flours

4 – Put the new water and flour into your jar with the saved/leftover start.

5 – Stir really well with your plastic or wooden spatula NEVER USE METAL Make sure to always push everything on the side down too, because even the older part on the sides is great and full of great natural Yeast so always push it off the sides and into the mixture 🙂

6 – Put your lid on but don’t screw it on tight (I have small holes in the top of my lid)

Once A Week Or Going On Vacation

  • If you are only going to use your starter once a week, or are going on vacation, you can put your starter (jar and all) into the fridge to give her a nap. She may stir a bit but will mostly sleep. By stir… I mean it can still grow so just make sure you check on it or just get an extra big jar like mine, and then you won’t have to worry about growth to much, because you’ll have plenty of room to grow.

  • If you don’t want to do it this week, If it were me I would take out my usual start at least once every 4 days and replenish it as stated above in the exact amounts you took out and then let it sit on the counter a few hours. Let her play and grow then put her back to sleep.

Now if you want to use your dough, lets say, on Monday, pull her out Friday, give her a good stir and feeding (this means take out the amount above and adding in the amounts above) each day for the next 3/4 days and keep her on the counter to begin waking back up and getting ready for when you want to bake.

To make sure it’s ready to use again do the float test. The way to do this is put a cup with room temp water in it. Put a 1/4 tsp of starter in the water and if it floats your good to go. If it doesn’t float don’t panic just give it a couple more days.

If you go on a longer vacation its okay, just make sure you have no more than two cups in an 8 cup or lrg bowl/jar so that it won’t over flow while you’re gone. She should sleep pretty peacefully, with only a bit of growth if any, while in the fridge. And YOU CAN’T KILL IT. EVEN IF IT GOES WEEKS just pull it out when you get back and start the feeding it process again. Take out 170 grams and add 85 grams water and 85 grams flour, do this every day until it passes the float test and your good to go again! Don’t panic if it takes days and days it will get back to normal eventually. Just be patient.

What To Do With The Discard Start

  • What can I do with my ready to discard start?
    • Well, you can throw it away
  • What if I don’t want to waist it, but I don’t want to make a big batch of something?
    • You can make one scone with it. Or you can put it in a new jar add equal parts to it and make a new start for some else. What a fantastic gift
  • How do I make Bread with it?
  • How do I make Pancakes with it?
    • Click here to go to our pancake recipe
  • How do I make Biscuits with it?
    • Click here to go to our biscuits recipes
  • How do I make Scones with it?

The Last Thing You Need to Know about Feeding your start.

  • You are going to love it! You will never want store bought bread again!
  • This is the most amazing bread and there is just nothing like homemade bread. Sourdough just has the most yummy flavor, to me it’s like eating candy! You got this!

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Written by Auntie Em

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