Managing Your Sourdough Starter


(easummers) #102

I’m not sure if spelt works the same but with my AP flour starter, my “stock” is approx. 300 grams/ 1 1/2 cups. When I feed, I remove half and add 75 grams water (1/3 cup), 75 grams flour (1/2 cup).

Usually I make a levain (leven, wild yeast sub for commercial yeast) of 1 Tbsp starter, 75 g water, 75 g flour and let that sit overnight or 8-10 hour until bubbly and passes float test although at this point I don’t check for float as I have confidence in what it should look and feel like.

I keep the discard starter and make Melissa’s sourdough naan, sourdough-masa tortillas, or crackers. You can use the discard in anything really - anything that has flour and water. For example, my starter is 100% hydration so if I have a cup of starter, I remove 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water from whatever the recipe total is.

Bottom line, you do need to discard and use in something and refresh your starter with new feeding(s). You can search on “why discard starter” to see why. From memory, I believe there are ph reasons for one.


(Joanie) #103

I have been using a home-made rye starter successfully for about 2 months. Recently, my starter has been going moldy. I skimmed off the mold, but it kept coming back. I’ve started 2 new starters, and both went moldy-white mold. We have humidifiers in our house, but it’s very cold outside, so I don’t think that’s the problem. Maybe it’s the rye-is wheat less prone to mold? I ordered your starter, so I was wondering how to keep it from going moldy.


(Melissa) #104

Were you using rye flour from the same bag in all these instances? I’m wondering if the flour got contaminated. And/or is there a way to test the humidifier?


(Joanie) #105

Thanks for responding! I’ve been wondering that too-I got the rye from a local farmer. I’ll get some rye flour from the store and try again. I also wondered if it’s actually mold. I can’t smell mold very clearly, and I read online that white mold-looking stuff on starter is normal, and you’re just supposed to stir it back in again. But, I don’t think that happened before. I guess the only thing to do is get the rye flour and start again. Also, we just cleaned the humidifiers a few weeks ago, so that can’t be it, but good point!


(naomimerrill) #106

Is there a way to make the starter more sour?


(Paul) #107

I’ve found that using whole grains to feed the starter, and especially whole rye, makes it more sour. It also gets more sour the longer I leave it between feedings.

That said, having sour starter doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to get sour bread, because as soon as you put the starter into a dough, you are effectively feeding the hell out of it and at least initially, it becomes more “sweet” again as the sugars in the flour come to dominate the mix. If you want the bread to be more sour, then you need to try to lengthen the fermentation (proofing) time as long as you can so that the bacteria-produced sour acids come to dominate over the sugars. Getting that timing right, long enough to develop the sour flavor, not too long that there isn’t enough yeast food left to provide a good rise in the oven, is one of the main challenges involved in sourdough baking.


(JohnOC) #108

I am trying to see if I can logistically take care of a starter. I tend not to be off multiple days in a row and work long shifts.
So I have some questions:
So once I have created a Barm/Starter…according to Peter Reinhart’s “Bread Baker’s Apprentice” He says if you are not going to use the starter for 2 months, you can put it in air tight container in refrigerator for up to 2 months or Freezer up to 6 months.

  • Anyone care to share their experience with this? I read above someone just left in fridge covered for two months and it got mold, I’m guessing it wasn’t air tight?)
  • How is air tight different then being in the fridge and having to feed/refresh it every 3 days?
  • For example, Is it a different container as opposed to plastic wrap? Will air tight Glass Jar Break in fridge from pressure?
  • What about air tight vs loosely air tight plastic wrap makes one last 2 months and the other take 3 days to need food?
  • Anyone successfully pull this off and revive starter?

(Paul) #109

See this topic and my answer in there for a management method that works for me with little fuss:


(Judy) #110

I fed my starter this morning and it doubled in volume. I took out what I needed and the 9 oz remaining I would like to refrigerate. Do I need to feed it again! Can I feed it next time before using?


(Judy) #111

John, I have only been using sour dough starter for 2 years (King Arthur starter) and I found that leaving and feeding from counter was too wasteful and we could not eat that much bread to use the unfed starter or fed starter. So I used Breadtopia jar, removed the seal as others told me to do, and feed 8 oz starter with 8 oz Spring water, & 8 oz flour. Place in jar, make my mark and when it doubles I refrigerate it. I do this when I can use the extra starter because this easily doubles! So my feedings go 2-3 weeks while setting in the refrigerator. I love the sour dough pizza crust from King Arthur Flour and that recipe has saved any waste! I have been known to make 8-16 8-9” pizzas, double wrap in Saran Wrap and place in freezer Zip Lock Baggie, gallon size and it is a lifesaver for a quick pizza for family on Friday nights. I prebake them before placing in bag for 7-8 minutes til slightly golden around the edges on a pizza stone preheated to 450 degrees for 30 min. When I prepare the pizzas for baking; 450 deg preheated pizza stone and bake for 7-8 minutes, cheese is melted and edges golden & really crusty! Oh yes, I dock that pizza dough round before baking the first time! So yes, sour dough starter keeps in the refrigerator!!! Many ways to use it! Today I made a sour dough harvest bread that used 8 oz starter and never any waste!

I use my ZOE bread machine on dough cycle to mix, knead and rise all my breads. Then use the appropriate pans or stones to bake my sour dough’s. I mention this, because it sounds like you are busy and short of time and you can get a lot done around your home while it is doing the work!

Good luck! I have learned so much from this site! Many are much more experienced than I am. I started small and learned as I wenet and now will not use a store bought bread.


(Judy) #112

John your question about air tight. No, you want to get the lids off! If you use a crock such as what KAF sells, (I like them), the lids are not tight. And of course, I love the glass jars from Breadtopia! You can see the action. REMOVE the seal! Also when you latch the lid, make sure it is wiped clean along the edges. It seals like glue if you don’t!


(Judy) #113

Answered myself. It was nice and bubbly in another 1.5 hrs and I refrigerated.


(Judy) #114

Most important it needs oxygen!


(madrikh52) #115

Can I knead my No-Knead bread dough to speed up the process, instead of using the long proof time? I want to have bread for dinner and just made the dough around noon?


(Melissa) #116

You’ll need more starter in proportion to flour, and a warmer temp. Kneading won’t hasten fermentation, only gluten development…to a point.


(Sheila) #117

I plan to use my sourdough starter/mother to make 100% whole wheat sourdough pita bread. Do I need to create a whole wheat starter, or will the white flour starter work just as well? Thank you! Sheila


(moorefcj) #118

I just received my live starter yesterday, and gave it its third feeding this morning, transitioning to the large jar.

I am confused about the non-air tight jar. It looks like you are using a lid lock jar. Are you just setting the lid down and not locking it? Could I just use a jar with plastic wrap, since that is what I did in the first two steps of reviving the live starter? Currently I just have plastic wrap laid on top of the jar.

Also in maintaining the starter, I want to make sure I have this right.

  1. Feed the starter, let rise until double in size, approx 5 hours.

  2. If not using right away, put in fridge, and can pull out and use fight away within the next two days.

  3. If a week goes by of not using it, pull it back out, throw away half the starter, and add 1 cup flower and 2/3 cup water. Let rise 5 hours and put back in fridge

Is there anything I am missing in terms of maintaining the starter?

Thank you.


(Jraven) #119

I need to fly across the country, and I want to take my starter with me. Any tips on bringing a starter on a plane? I will only have carry on luggage so the starter has to be 100 mL or less, if that changes anything.


(chgoliz) #120

@Jraven

Joined this community to answer your question!

My friend brought her 20-year-old rye-based starter from the Netherlands to the States (so, even longer flight) to me as a gift. What she did was put it in a well-cleaned travel-sized toiletry container and added it to her 3-1-1 clear plastic bag with her actual toiletries. The starter was none the worse for wear and I’m still using it years later.

I’ve had occasion to pass on the starter to various friends, including some friends from Germany, so I did the same thing: bought a new 2-ounce, food-grade silicone, wide-mouth bottle and washed it well before filling it to give them some starter to take back on a plane to Germany. Again, arrived with no difficulties and came right back to life when fed.

Hope that helps.


(Jraven) #121

That helps a lot! Thank you!!