Feeding, Activating and Storing Your Sourdough Starter

Use a container that can be closed with a lid (I like to cover mine with a cloth but in both cases 1L glass mason jar works best). Make sure it is clean or simply wash it out well with hot water and a little soap. Allow the container to dry and cool down if it is hot.

Feeding the sourdough starter

Empty the sachet contents in the container.

Add 75 g of flour and mix in with the starter powder. That’s about 4 tablespoons of flour. Any type of flour is ok, however all-purpose, bread, white, whole wheat and rye, i.e. high gluten flours, work best. Some people prefer to stick to using the same type of flour to feed their starter as the one they would use for baking later on (i.e. white flour for baking white or san francisco sourdough bread, rye flour for rye sourdough bread, etc).

Add 75 ml of water. That’s about 6 tablespoons of water.

Stir well until you get a homogeneous mix with no lumps (some lumps is also ok).

The sourdough starter mix should have the consistency of very thick pancake batter or like that of oatmeal breakfast. No worries tho if it’s thicker or runnier, the starter is very forgiving and won’t mind it either way.

Cover the jar (with lid or cloth). Don’t give it an airtight close because feeding the starter produces CO2 so there might be pressure build up in the container if closed tightly (so if you do, watch out when you open it).

Put the jar in a dark place (e.g. in your cupboard) at room temperature.

The next day (or in the next 12-24 hours) repeat the feeding process — feed the Sourdough starter again with 75 g of flour and 75 ml of water and mix well.

There are many theories on how to feed your starter but basically it comes down to adding the same amount of flour and water to the starter as the starter itself. For example, if you have 150 g starter, then you would add 150 g flour and 150 ml water. Since our starter is pretty forgiving and resilient, you can generally feed it with half its volume. So, as a rule of thumb, each time you want to feed the starter, just double its weight with 50% flour and 50% water. For example, if your starter weighs 150 g you would feed it with 75 g flour and 75 ml water so that your total starter is now 300 g. Which means that the next time you will either have to give it more flour and water, or discard some starter before feeding it. And since we don’t like to be wasteful, here are some ideas how to use that leftover sourdough starter.

And that’s how you feed your starter.

See the Sourdough Starter Basics article for more info on feeding it continuously.

Activating your starter

Your stater is ready to use when it becomes bubbly and doubles in size. At this point, your sourdough starter is activated and ready to use.

With our starter this usually happens very quickly, about 1-2 hours after its very first feeding.

It’s always a good idea to feed your starter for at least a couple of days so it ferments well and develops it’s raising power, flavors, and structure all of which consecutively contribute to making a superior sourdough bread. However, you don’t have to wait if you don’t want to or you are in a hurry. As soon as your starter is bubbly and has a pleasant tangy sweet smell, like that of fermented fruits, it’s good to go.

Storing your starter and keeping it alive

The sourdough starter will stay alive and well for as long as you feed it.

Your starter is a living thing – there are billions of lactic acid cultures and yeasts colonies in it. So you need to feed it regularly otherwise they will eventually die out.

The good news is that our starter is very resilient and forgiving and it’s not going to die if you forget to feed it (or at least not before a long time). To avoid this from happening, just follow these simple guidelines.

  • If you plan on making bread regularly (once every 1-3 days) then feed the sourdough once daily and keep in a dark place at room temperature.
  • If you do not plan on making bread any time soon and you would like to keep your starter alive so it matures, then keep it the fridge and only feed it once every 1-2 weeks. Once you are ready to make bread, take it out of the fridge, feed it, and let it stay overnight at room temperature to get bubbly and get that nice fermented aroma before you use it.
  • If you are done with your baking or so happens that you don’t want to keep it alive (you only needed it for baking a few times), then use the entire starter up and then simple start a new one from scratch. Our sourdough starter mix makes this absolutely easy to do anytime you need it.

Our sourdough is a very hardy culture. As long as you feed it water and flour on a regular basis it will survive. If you overfeed, underfeed or even forget to feed your sourdough. Don’t panic, it will be fine.

Using leftover sourdough starter

It can feel wasteful discarding so much sourdough. However, if you don’t discard any prior to feeding you will have to give it much more flour and water with each feed. This is because the volume of starter is increased with every feed which results in more yeast cells requiring more food.

I don’t like discarding sourdough so what I do instead is I collect all the discarded sourdough, keep it in a large container in the fridge and then use it in various ways. Here are some ideas of what to do with it – add it to your pancake batter for wonderful healthy sourdough pancakes, use it in your French toast egg mix for making rich sourdough French toast, add it to the crumble mix for making a delicious hearty apple (any other fruit) crumble, etc.

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