Many people have asked us how to keep a sourdough starter alive. The starter thrives when it has a routine. It is a good idea to bring your starter home and keep it in the fridge overnight. The next day, you can create a new routine and start something for yourself and your starter. You can also buy sourdough starter from Get Sourdough and have it shipped to your door.
The tiny pint-sized container houses healthy yeast bacteria as well as its essential needs, flour, water, oxygen. The yeast bacteria eats all the sugar in the flour, and turns it into carbon dioxide or ethanol. Although there is much more to the happy yeast’s behavior, the most important thing to do to keep it alive is to give it water and food every day. A routine will help us observe the starter’s behavior, just like our pets.
Many of us don’t bake every day at home. Although we wouldn’t skip feeding our pets, it is more convenient and cheaper to feed starters only once or twice per week. The starter can be kept in the fridge so that it is healthy and happy between meals. This will help you save time and flour if you don’t bake on a weekly basis.
We recommend buying a scale. They are available on Amazon. A scale is helpful for consistency. If our starter behaves badly, or we need to find creative solutions with new flours and schedules, a scale can help us.
- Grams Cups/Teaspoon
- Flour 100 2/3 Cup
- Water 100 1/2 Cup
- MB sourdough starter 10 1 teaspoon
It is best to feed your starter in the morning, and then let it ferment at room temperature for two hours before you refrigerate it. This will allow the yeast to begin to eat the flour before it is cooled in the refrigerator. This should be done once per week to keep your starter alive. After you have fed it, discard the extra starter. I like to combine my starter, flour, and water. I then put it in the fridge.
If you feel inspired to bake bread, or if your starter might be useful in other baking projects such as crepes, tortillas or crackers, you can feed it more often. Although the volume is greater, the ratios are the exact same as the ones above. Make sure to plan ahead. Check out a recipe online, or in your favorite bread book to see how much starter is needed. Basic bread recipes require less than 200g starter to make a loaf of bread. Even though the measurements are smaller, you’ll still be able to make enough bread with the starter left over to feed your family.
- Grams Cups/Tablespoon
- Flour 200 1 1/2 Cups
- Water 200 1 cup
- 2 teaspoons MB sourdough starter 20,
We fed the maintenance feedings once per week. We will increase the frequency of our feed to twice daily for the bake feed and keep our starter at room temp. My preference is to bake in the morning, so I feed my starter at noon the day before I bake. Then I put it to bed at night. The starter is refreshed and awakened from the fridge during the early afternoon feed. In the evening feed, I build the volume to make sure I have enough for my next baking project. The starter should bubble, but not be too watery.
How do you make homemade sourdough?
1. Kitchen scale. It is possible to measure ingredients for bread with cups but a scale keeps things consistent.
2. Dutch oven or combination cooker A Dutch oven is a great way to bake bread. You can steam it at the beginning of baking, which will give you the best rise and form a crust. A Dutch oven is preferred by some bakers, while a Dutch oven can be used as a double-purpose pan.
3. Banneton baskets or proofing. Banneton baskets made from cane have ridges to support the dough. These baskets are designed to allow the dough to rise and give loaves consistency. You can also use a lined mixing bowl with a clean cloth.
4. Razor blade. To score the dough or make a slit in its top, you will need a sharp tool. This will allow the dough to expand while baking. A razor blade or very sharp knife are fine. There are special tools for this purpose (called lames). Be careful not to over-manipulate your bread when scoring.
5. Dough scraper. A scraper’s wide, deep blade helps you divide your bread dough and move it gently from one surface to the next.
How to make the perfect sourdough bread
1. Keep your starter fresh. If you leave it too long before feeding your starter, wild yeast will not be strong enough for the bread to rise.
2. The starter should be used when it is at its best/bubbliest. Refrigerated starters should be fed three times before baking. Drop a teaspoonful of starter into a cup with room temperature water to test its readiness. If the starter floats, it is ready.
3. Keep your starter at 68-78degF. This is the ideal temperature for yeast growth.
4. Plan ahead. You can plan ahead by making a schedule and keeping track of everything. This will allow you to learn the rhythms of your starter, and keep you from overbaking.
5. Glass or ceramic bowls, jars, and containers are best. Use ceramic or glass containers for making sourdough bread. The acidity of the dough can react with metal and plastic.
6. Use gentleness when handling your dough. You should handle it as gently as possible to preserve air pockets.