This blog post is how I create and then feed my starter.
Creating a sourdough starter
Creating a sourdough starter is super easy. I’ve done it a number of times as I’ve killed my starter a few times. So don’t be afraid!
In the past, I’ve used this King Arthur blog post on how to create my starter learned how to make my starter, but I’ll transcribe the steps I use below.
The article above says that it will take 5 days to get your starter up to strength, but I’ve been able to get it ready in 3-4, but your results may very!
Day 1 - Combine equal parts water and flour, 100 g of each. The combined mixture should weight 200 g. Place in a covered container where the starter will have room to grow and expand and let sit for 24 hours at room temperature.
Day 2 - After 24 hours, you may or may not see any expansion or bubbles in your starter. Regardless, discard half of your starter (100 g). And again add equal parts water and flour 100 g each.
Again, place in a covered container where the starter will have room to grow and expand and again let sit for 24 hours at room temperature.
- Day 3 - You should start to see your sourdough start to become active. It will have expanded and you’ll see bubbles and it might have an aroma. At this point the aroma may smell a little alcoholic, that’s totally normal at this point (also see note on aroma below).
With the starter active, you can switch to the normal feeding schedule which is listed below.
Feeding your starter
Once you have an active starter, you’ll need to feed it. There will be two reasons you feed your starter, the first to keep it alive and the second is to prepare for baking with it. These feedings use the same ratios of ingredients, but I’ve broken them up into two separate sections for simplicity.
Regular Feeding - Keeping your starter going
The frequency at which you feed your starter depends on the temperature that it is stored at. If it is stored at room temperature, I recommend you feed it once per day. I have been able to feed a starter once every two days, but any longer than that is pushing it!
If you’re storing the starter in the fridgerator you can feed it once per month.
- 25g sourdough starter
- 25g whole wheat flour
- 100g all purpose flour
- 100g water @ 85°F-90°F (29°C-32°C) - (Just ensure the water is not too cold or not to hot.)
If your sourdough is stored in the fridgerator, take it out 30-60 mins before you feed it and allow it to come up to room temperature. If your sourdough has seperated, stir it before feeding.
From your previous feeding, discard all but 25g of sourdough starter. This may seem like a little, but it’s all you need!
Combine the 25g of starter with 25g whole wheat, 100g all purpose flour and 100g water. Ensure you scrape all of the flour/starter on the bottom of your container.
Cover your starter at room temperature or in the fridgerator in a container where it will have room to expand. If you’re storing your starter at room temperature it will be ready for another feeding at 12 hours. It should be at least doubled its sized at that point and the aroma should smell sweet, fregrent and sour.
Note on aroma - smelling alcohol in your starter is pretty normal. I’ve found that starter feeding where there are higher hydrations cause a more alcohoic smell. This feeding scheduler is ~80% hydration.
Preparing For Baking Feeding
The feeding schedule above will not give you enough starter to use in recipies, so this section has the amounts needed to give you enough.
Before you bake, follow this feeding 24-12 hours before you bake. That way you’ll have enough active and happy starter for your recipie! If your starter has been in the fridge and hasn’t been fed in a while, I recommend feeding it acording to the schedule above two days before to get it active before this big feed.
Again, these amounts are just is just 4x the amount of the one above, so you can use whatever amounts you want, as long as the ratio is the same (actually you can do other ratios, but this is what I use, see notes).
- 100g starter
- 100g wholewheat
- 200g all purpose flour
- 200g water @ 85°F-90°F (29°C-32°C) - (Just ensure the water is not too cold or not to hot.)
- Discard all but 100g of your active starter (If you have between 50-100g you should be fine). Combine the 100g whole wheat, 200g all purpose flour and 200g of water, ensuring that you mix in all of the flour and starter. Let sit for 12 hours and use for baking.
- The sourdough discard can be a lot to throw away, but there are a lot of great recipies on there where you can use it for yummy treats!
- When starter hasn’t been fed in a while and is in the fridge, it can seperate and there can have a dark liquid. If it does, its still can be good. Just stir it feed it and see if it becomes active again.
- Anything that looks like regualr mold (the mold that you see on normal
- food) means your starter is gone and should you create another one. Don’t even attempt to salvage it! Make sure you clean out your container too.
- I don’t always clean my container between feedings. It can be a good way to get some extra starter if you are low, but do clean it everyonce in a while.
- There are a lot of different feeding hydrations/ratios you can use. This is just the one I’ve used (I haven’t tried anything different). There can even do a liquid starter, where there is more water than flour, but I haven’t tried this!
- Have fun!!