What is Sourdough Starter and how does it work?
Sourdough starters are live, fermented cultures of flour and water. It becomes active and bubbly once it is “fed” with more flour and water. Only a small amount is needed to make bread dough rise.
Why is Feeding Important?
It is not possible to grab a starter and leave it on the counter expecting it to work in a matter of minutes. Bakers feed starters to activate them (prior to making bread dough), and to keep their strength in storage.
- Here’s how to feed after you buy sourdough starter
- Half of your starter sourdough should be thrown away
- Use equal amounts of flour and water to feed what is left in the jar (1:1:1 feeding ratio).
- Allow to rise at room temperature (covered, or airtight), until bubbly, active, and twice as large (2-12 hours). ).
Feeding Sourdough Starter (InDepth).
Although it is easy to make sourdough at a glance, this section explains each step in detail.
Take out and discard
9:15 AM (sample eating time): Let’s assume you have 120g of starter sourdough. First, take out half of the starter, 60g, and place it in a separate bowl. You can use a spoon to pour or stir.
You can call what’s left in the bowl, the amount that you just removed, sourdough disposal.
You can use the discard to make Sourdough Pancakes. You can also throw out the discard if it is discolored or smelly (we’ll discuss this more later).
Add Equal Parts Flour and Water by Weight
Now you will feed the remaining contents of the jar.
What amount of flour and water do you need for your starter?
Bakers use a ratio to feed their customers because we all have different starters.
It is common to feed your starter equal amounts of flour and water. A 1:1:1 feeding ratio is what I use (sourdough starter flour, water).
Let’s keep going with this example.
You now have 120g starter. Now you have 60 g starter. You should feed it with 60g flour and 60g water.
Use a fork to mix the batter. Scrape down the sides as necessary until it becomes a thick, lump-free batter. Add the lid.
Let Rise Until You’re Bubbly, Active, and Double Your Size (2-12 hours.
Your starter should be placed in a warm place to heat up and activate.
When your starter shows these signs, it is considered active:
– Doubles in size
– Both small and large bubbles are visible
– A spongey or fluffy texture
Is sourdough starter suitable for making dough?
Plan on 2-12 hrs. Temperature will also play a role. The activation process takes time. To measure the growth, place a rubber band around jar’s base.
Your starter will not stay at the same size for ever once it is active. It will take between 1-2 hours to fully activate. You have a window of between 1-2 hours before it goes back down. To check readiness, perform the float test.
What is the Float Test and how does it work?
Drop 1 teaspoon. Drop 1 tsp. of starter into a glass. If it floats to top, it is ready to go. Only test your starter once it has doubled in size (not after it has lost its strength).
How to use sourdough starter
Measure the amount of bubbly active starter required for your Sourdough bread recipe. To keep the cycle going, you will need to refill the starter jar with water and flour.
How to store and maintain your starter sourdough
You will need to feed your starter regularly once you have it. Otherwise, your bread won’t rise. The location of your starter and the frequency you bake will directly affect how often you feed it.
Keep your starter at room temperature if you only bake once a week. It will need to be fed 1x per day, even if it is not being used. It will be ready for use quicker if stored at room temperature, particularly if it is warm.
Keep your starter in the refrigerator if you only bake once per week or once per month. To maintain its strength, you should feed it once a week. It doesn’t need to be brought to room temperature before you feed it. Simply take it out of the fridge and then put it back. Once the cold starter is ready to be used, let it cool at room temperature for a few minutes until it warms up. Warm water is best. Choose a warm place. Keep in mind that the sun will rise faster if it is warmer than it is.