Welcome to the fascinating world of sourdough! There is something special about taking a bubbling starter, flour, and water and creating a crusty light loaf of bread. Here are a few helpful tips I have gleaned on my own personal sourdough journey! Hopefully this will answer questions you have about sourdough starter.
Sourdough starter can be made using flour and water. Many experienced bakers will tell you the best success is by getting a mature starter from a friend or online. An inexperienced baker will not know what a good starter should look or even smell like. A new starter works well for pizza, waffles, pancakes, crackers, and noodles but will not be strong enough to rise 100% whole grain bread. A mature starter will hold up in refrigeration without being feed for weeks whereas a new starter will starve much quicker and weaken by refrigeration.
Starter can be purchased from www.kingarthurflour.com , Cultures for Health We have added more items to our blog store, Sourdough Starter, Sourdough Beginner Kits, and more. Check it out at this link Blog Store.
If you really want to make a starter–here are day by day, step by step instructions on making a starter. It is fascinating to watch the starter mature and begin to make wonderful loaves of bread.
Feeding your starter: Starter that is stored at room temperature needs to be fed daily and is much better if fed twice a day, especially in hot weather. Feeding the correct ratio is extremely important. The proper ratio is 1 part starter–1 part-flour–2/3 part water. So if you have 1/2 cup starter you will feed it 1/2 cup flour and 1/3 cup water. Do not use chlorinated water to feed your starter as that can weaken and kill the starter. The day before I want to make bread I will take 1/2 cup of starter and feed it 3 times, morning, lunchtime, and just before I go to bed*
The reason I only use 1/2 cup is that the starter doubles every time it is fed. In a short time you will end up with gallons of starter if you are not careful. Starter that is fed properly will have a sweet yeasty smell and will rise to a peak and hold that peak for hours without deflating. Notice the thickness of the starter below—I have much better success in making bread with a thicker starter. Also, take note of the strands of gluten.
If you have received a small jar of starter from me, this is how you will feed it. In your jar is 1 tablespoon of starter–feed it 1 tablespoon flour and 2 teaspoons water. At the next feeding you will have around 1/4 cup starter, feed it 1/4 cup flour and 3 tablespoons water. Each feeding you feed your starter with the same amount of flour as you have starter and a little less water. As you can see, your starter multiplies rapidly. That is one of the reason I store my starter in the fridge and only feed it a day or two before I want to make bread.
Storing your starter: Starter can be kept in the fridge until you are ready to bake with it than *feed as stated above. I store the starter in a glass quart jar or my favorite — a Pampered Chef Glass Measuring bowl. Starter that is stored in the fridge may get a watery, tan liquid on top and a strong smell. This liquid is called a hooch and means your starter is hungry or starving. Pour off the hooch and feed it adding a bit more water if needed. You may find that the starter rise and falls in a short time. That is because it is extremely hungry and eating through its food rapidly.
This starter was in my fridge for 4 months without being fed. Take note of the dark colored hooch. Read about how I activated this starter–Can I save this starter? — and see the nice loaf of bread it made after being fed a few times.
You may store your starter in the fridge for weeks without feeding. To reactivate it, remove from fridge and feed it numerous times. You may notice that it falls much quicker than normal the first time you feed it. That is because it is very hungry and eating through its food rather quickly.
Your starter should not get moldy but if it does it is a sign of contamination. If it is surface mold, use a spoon to scrape of the top layer. With another clean spoon get a teaspoon of starter from the bottom of the jar that is free of mold. Place it into a clean container and continue to feed it.
Do you wonder at time what kind of flours can be used for sourdough to keep it on plan? This blog post–Understanding Sourdough Bread— explains the ingredients you may find on sourdough recipes.
Sourdough starter is actually very forgiving and not as temperamental as some folks think. So have a try at it–I hope you love it as much as I do.
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You will find many more recipes in the spiral bound 600+ page Around the Family Table Cookbook. All recipes are sugar-free and label with the correct fuel. We have added more items to our blog store, Sourdough Beginner Kits, and more. Check it out at this link Blog Store.
Canadians can purchase from www.healthyfamilyfoods.caLiving Waters Bookstore and www.sweetandsprouted.com
22 thoughts on “Sourdough Starter”
Hi Glenda—I just purchased your book. I’d love a sourdough starter! 😊 I am eager to try my hand at it I have baked whole wheat bread for year with freshly ground wheat. I look forward to learning about sourdough!
I would love the sourdough starter just ordered the book can’t get to the email. Name Kimberly Bular
Let me know if I need any additional information please
I will add it to you order. Blessings Glenda
Could we go over some definitions so i am clear? When a recipe says:
Active sourdough starter
Fed sourdough starter
Unfed sourdough starter
I believer I know most of the answers,,,,but would like to be certain. TY for your time. PS the starter you sent is great. I meant to keep yours and mine separate (for a while anyways) and do some experimenting. But, some minor confusion in the kitchen caused me to combine them earlier than planned, lol. Anywhooo the little starter “lovechild” is active and doing well. She is going to do some baking tomorrow if all goes as planned.
Oh and loved the lemon cake. mmmmm
unfed, discard, and refrigerated starter are the same thing. active starter has been fed within the last 8 hours. Active starter is a must for breads. unfed starter can be used in a recipe that uses and additional leavening agent like baking powder/soda.
Hi I just ordered your cookbook and would like the starter included please
I will add it to your order. Blessings!
In making my own starter I used King Arthur flour I bleached all-purpose Organic. My starter has taken off VERY nice n quick. Is this ok to continue using g this flour or is it wise to switch to bread flour!? What are your recommendations?
Yes, that flour is ok to use.
UN-bleached it was meant to say
The starter you sent me is thriving! I have a question about the day before baking feeds. Do you take out 1/2 cup starter to be fed all three times (leaving you with discard), or do you fed the original 1/2 cup starter three times?
I feed the 1/2 cup 3 times…..the first feed will be 1/2 cup flour and 1/3 cup water. The second feed will be approximately 1 cup flour and 2/3 cup water. The third feed will be at least 2 cups flour and 1 1/3 cups water. Each time you feed your starter you will feed it the same amount of flour as you have starter and a bit less water.
I just ordered your book and would like a starter included please. Thanks so much.
I will add it to your order. Blessings!
So excited for my sourdough adventure to begin, I just ordered the cookbook. Please send my starter.
Hi! I have a question about pulling your starter out the day before baking and feeding it. I’ve tried twice and both times when I get up in the morning my starter has deflated. Should I be leaving it out on the counter or putting it in the fridge? I’ve left it out on the counter both times. I understand that it would be ok to use for discard recipes, but not bread recipes. What can I do to make sure I have a good rise in the morning so I can start making bread the next morning? Thank you!
since the weather is so warm..you may need to give it more flour. I would try 1.5 times more four than starter and enough weer to make a thick batter.
Thank you so much! I will give that a try.
Glenda, I just received your starter kit and am clueless. To make sure I understand the directions, if I don’t’ want to use it yet, I can take it out of the package & store it in a clean glass quart jar in the fridge?
yes, feed it one time and then stick it in the fridge.
Hello, I took my starter out of the fridge yesterday morning and fed it that morning and in the afternoon. I forgot to feed it before bed, so I fed it this morning. If I wait about 6 hours, will I be able to bake with it later today? My question is, does it really matter how much time you leave between each of the three feedings before baking?
yes, you can bake with it. i like to have 4 hours between feedings