How to Keep Your Sourdough Starter Happy
Keeping your live sourdough starter happy is easy when it’s kept in the fridge. You can get away with weekly feedings & forgetting about your sourdough starter will not the end of the world. Yeast is pretty hardy & the worst that can happen is you make hooch. Yes, that’s the technical name for the layer of liquid that develops when the yeast gets hangry.
Store your sourdough starter in inert containers like glass mason jars or glass food storage containers & cover with plastic film. Glass jars will break if you screw on a lid.
If your tap water is overly chlorinated, use purified water, but it’s not needed in most municipalities.
Sourdough Starter “Food”
- 4 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (1 cup)
- 4 ounces lukewarm water (1/2 cup)
I have included measurements in weight & volume. Do yourself a favor and spend $10 on a kitchen scale. Measuring by weight will give you reliable results, insuring the time you spend kneading & tending to your loaf is worth it.
Store sourdough starter at room temperature (~70°):
Mix water and flour together. Stir in 4 oz sourdough starter. Discard leftover starter. Mix until smooth, and cover. Repeat every 12 hours.
Store sourdough starter in refrigerator:
Take starter out of fridge. There may be a bit of light amber or clear liquid on top, aka hooch. Drain off if alcohol smell smacks you in the face when you put your nose in the container. If not, stir in.
Remove 4 oz starter & discard the rest. Add flour & lukewarm water to the remaining starter, mix until smooth. Cover. Allow the starter to rest at room temperature (about 70°F) for at least 2 hours. This gives the yeast a chance to warm up and start feeding. Refrigerate. Repeat every 7 days.
TIP: Use “discard” starter to make pancakes, waffles, or pizza. King Arthur Flour had great sourdough starter discard recipes. The only recipe I advise against is Merlin’s Magic Bread. There is nothing magic about it.
Love baking? You have to try my Hot Chocolate Cupcakes.