Sourdough help

Hi, I’m new here so please forgive me if I’m not in the correct forum. I’ve just made my starter but I don’t know what to do next. Silly I know but when I said I was new at this I really meant it ! Thanks !

We’ve all been there. Congrats on getting your starter going. What kind of bread would you like to make?

Just regular Sourdough bread using white flour.

There are many excellent recipes. However I do recommend this recipe as it really guides you through every single step with an in depth explanation. A great learning tool. Only one thing to add is what they call a poolish is actually a levain in sourdough terms.

Thanks. I do have one more question. Are you supposed to discard any of the starter before you use it and if so, how much ?

Nope. You’ve got your starter. It now lives in the fridge (well, once you’ve successfully done your first bake and your starter has proved itself). When you build a levain (aka the poolish in the recipe) that is like an off shoot starter given a good feed. When your starter in the fridge runs low then take it out, give it a feed and when doubled back in the fridge it goes. I suggest not keeping too much starter at any one time in order it doesn’t go for too long between feeds and you don’t have to discard. If you build too much and keep hundreds of grams then it’ll go for too long before it runs low and you’ll need to feed it but because you have too much you’ll need to discard. Trick is to keep enough just for a few bakes, build off shoot starters - levains, and before long you feed it again with no discard. Because your starter is young I suggest come what may you feed it once a week for now. As it matures it can go for longer.

I keep about 80g in the fridge. Within two bakes it’s run low so I feed it. If you keep 300g (as an example) in the fridge it’ll take ages to run low and it’ll need feeding long before that happens so you’ll be discarding a lot.

Having said all that this is just one way of keeping and using a starter. There are probably as many ways as there are bakers. Learn from everyone and find a way which suits you.

Thanks a bunch. I’m going to try my first attempt this week. But I don’t mind telling you I’m nervous.

My pleasure. Don’t be nervous. Just do your best and post the results. Because it’s your first bake it’ll be a good way of judging your starter. I’d continue with regular feeds till you have done a successful first bake before refrigeration.

Got it :+1:. Thanks !

@adrianna Hi Adrianna! @anon44372566 Abe wasn’t kidding when he said there are almost as many different ways to grow and maintain starter AND bake different basic loaves of bread as there are bakers!

My personal way of handling sourdough and baking bread is different from Abe’s. That doesn’t mean mine is better or that his is better. It simply means I do things differently because it works for me.

I keep a large amount of sourdough in a 1-1/2 quart jar in my refrigerator. On the day I’m going to feed my sourdough (affectionately named Cyril) I end up taking a good portion out of the jar when I’m going to feed him and use it to bake myself some sourdough pancakes for breakfast that day (or to pop into the freezer for another time I feel the need for pancakes).

My bakes have been as simple and no-knead as humanly possible. For lack of a better description, I’m a rather lazy baker, LOL. I don’t want lots of steps. I just want some good bread as easily as possible. (Now the forum knows my secret: Leah is a lazy baker!) The recipe and video link below is what I used to get started. In fact, it’s how I still make my basic breads. The recipe below gives a good ratio for using some whole grain in the dough. You can make the bread using 100% white bread flour if you don’t want to use whole grain. You might have to reduce the amount of water in the recipe though. Whole grains are a bit thirstier than white flour. If you’d like, watch the video and read through the recipe below.

Whatever way you decide to manage your sourdough and bake your breads will become uniquely yours. No one way of doing things fits everyone’s lifestyles and time. That’s why there are so many different ways to manage sourdough and bake sourdough bread.

Whatever you decide to do, just enjoy, learn, bake and eat your way through the journey!

Baking blessings,

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Thanks so very much ! I need all the help I can get !

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Hi Leah, I’ve been reading back over everything that was discussed yesterday but I’m still not sure if I’m doing everything right. My starter has never doubled like his does in the videos. I did see some activity about 48 hrs. after starting the process but now it seems to be doing nothing. So what do I do now ? Do I feed it or just stir it & let it sit ? I’m thinking about just giving up cause I’m so confused about this whole thing. :frowning:

@adrianna Hi, Adrianna. I am SO sorry but unfortunately I don’t know how to answer your question. You see, I never developed my own sourdough starter. My starter, Cyril, was gifted to me by a good friend. He was already a viable active starter when I got him. All I did before baking with him was feed him pure spring water and the flour I determined I was going to use for him. I fed him about once every week for about 5-6 weeks before attempting to bake with him. I wanted him to get used to living in my house and eating what I was going to feed him. If I remember correctly Cyril was gifted to me on February 12, 2018 and I think my first attempt at baking with him was early April 2018. I remember that very first bake being an incredible experience and success. I’ve been baking with my sweet Cyril since. In fact, I have prepped a loaf this evening and am just about ready to put the dough on my kitchen counter to ferment overnight and bake in the morning.

Please don’t give up. Developing sourdough is a special journey. It’s unique to the person developing it. A part of you, Adrianna, your essence, cells from your skin and breath from your lungs, the environment and air in your home, the microbes that will grow the sourdough – they’re all unique to you. Your sourdough will embrace all of that. Sourdough is a living thing. Don’t give up on it.

So many bakers on this forum have their own spin on how to cultivate a viable starter. They’re extremely knowledgeable. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them. But I seem to sense that the advice you’re looking for isn’t something technical, scientific and advanced. I believe you just want some simple practical advice. So, my teacher friends out there on the forum (of course I’m thinking of you, @Fermentada Melissa), please help out Adrianna with some very simple practical advice on developing her starter. I’d be very thankful and I know she will be thankful too.


Seeing activity after 48 hours but then going quiet does not sound like activating a live starter but rather the normal process of creating a starter from scratch. Starters can go quiet but that doesn’t mean nothing is happening. Trick is not to over feed them trying to wake them up.

What was the last feed you did before it went quiet? How much starter do you have?

@adrianna and @anon44372566 Abe, when I read your response to the thread this morning I re-read my post from last night. Last night when I tried to answer Adrianna I think I didn’t express myself as well as I should. I was tired. It was time for bed, LOL. Anyway, when I said, “So many bakers on this forum have their own spin on how to cultivate a viable starter.” What I meant to say in my mind was “growing a new starter from scratch.” Thanks, Abe! You caught that! I haven’t had my morning coffee yet so I’m still a bit tired and my little grey cells aren’t firing on all cylinders yet.

That being said, I have just shaped a loaf of basic sourdough that’s been sitting out on my kitchen counter for the last 8 hours (it’s 80 degrees in my kitchen. The dough was ready, LOL) and it’s now on its final rise in the proofing basket before heading to the oven to have all of it’s little cells heat-blasted to oblivion, hopefully causing an explosion of activity better known as oven spring, LOL. Yeah, maybe I’d better go make that coffee…and hug a puppy.


@Leah1 your wording was perfect! What I meant to imply was while I think @adrianna has bought a starter and was reviving it, it sounds as if the starter is going through the steps of making a starter from scratch. Starters are live and buying a starter to have them posted to us can have unpredictable results. My rule of thumb is… If one spends a week “reviving” a starter then how is that any different to making a starter from scratch which takes a week? So in all honesty they’ve probably made their own starter. If one feeds a live starter they’ve bought and within a day or two it’s strong and ready to go then I’ll accept it’s the original starter. But for @adrianna’s starter to show signs of making a new starter probably means that’s what’s happening. Going quiet after an initial bubbling up is very normal. I hope @adrianna doesn’t give up and perseveres.

A long ferment at warm temps I think makes the best tasting sourdough. Sounds wonderful!

@anon44372566 Thanks, Abe. I hope she doesn’t give up too. When I started this bread journey and wanted to try sourdough I knew I didn’t really have the patience to grow one from scratch. I was fortunate because I had a good friend, living a few streets away from me, that had developed her own sourdough from scratch years ago and was still baking with it. She lovingly gave me a good sized portion of it in a mason jar (along with a tasty dinner that night, LOL). I brought it home and started feeding it. And then…I hesitated to start baking with it. I realize now that I was afraid my first loaf would be a dismal failure! That’s probably why it took me almost 8 weeks from the time I brought that sourdough home to before I baked my first loaf. Very thankfully, that first loaf was a huge success and I’ve been baking since. Though, some loaves have been a little less successful, but tasty.

Anyway, I’ve still got to make that coffee and hug the puppy…


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I probably have about 1& a half cups of starter. I just fed it some flour because it seemed a bit watery to me.

Have you got two small jars and some scales?

I am probably find 2 small jars and I do have a scale.