Sourdough Starter

See the bubbles?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A sourdough starter must be fed and cared for.

Refrigerating – Once your sourdough starter is safely in the refrigerator, it will need a little attention, although once it’s cold and relatively dormant, it can survive between “feedings.” It is certainly not hard to care for but it won’t just sit for months on end like a packet of commercially dried yeast either.

Feeding

Ordinarily, you feed your starter when you remove some to bake with it. A good rule of thumb is to replenish its food and water at least once every week, preferably because you have used the starter for a wonderful loaf of sourdough bread, or a stack of pancakes .

 While it’s been stored in the refrigerator, the alcohol will have separated and come to the surface. With a spoon or wire whisk, blend it back into the starter and then measure out the quantity of starter required by your recipe. Replace the amount taken with equal amounts of flour and water. Since most of our recipes are based on using 1 cup of starter, you would stir in a cup of flour and a cup of water. (This actually makes 1 1/3 cups more starter but you can adjust the amount whenever you want.)

I usually do this the night before I am going to use it. So in the morning it is ready to use. After you use some to make your sourdough bread, take the remaining sourdough starter and add 1/2 cup of flour and water to it. Usually a good rule of thumb is to use equal portions of starter, water and added flour. Don’t add more starter than flour and water for it doesn’t work has well. Here is the best ratio. 1/2 cup or less of starter- 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup of water.

Let the replenished starter sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours or over night to give the yeast a chance to multiply and become active.

  Troubleshooting

 It takes a lot to “do in” a sourdough starter.  Even after the grossest of neglect, a little warmth and a good meal should perk it up and get it ready to go. Here are a few tips to help you keep your starter in peak condition.

 Feeding without Baking: If you have been busy or away, you can always feed your starter without baking anything. Stir the mixture together, take out and discard 1 cup of starter and replenish as above, stirring in 1 cup water and 1 cup flour. (Or instead of discarding the starter you removed, ask your neighbors if they would be interested in adopting a starter of their very own.) Let the resuscitated mixture sit at room temperature for several hours before you return it to the refrigerator.

 Increasing your Starter: If you want to increase the amount of starter you have, either to give some to a friend or, to get ready for a lot of baking, simply increase the amount  you feed it. Whenever you feed your starter, give it at least a day at room temperature to “work.” This time period allows the yeast to multiply and get ready for its next task.

 Reviving a Neglected Starter

 If your sourdough starter has sat in the refrigerator for more than a week you can usually revive it, give it a chance for survival before you throw it out. A little warmth and a good meal of strong, high-energy carbohydrates may be all it needs to get it off and running again. You will probably have to feed it for three days on your counter. To get it up to snuff.

The layer of liquid on the surface will probably be very dark, making it look as if the starter must surely have expired. Quell your fear, wrestle the top off the jar and give it a sniff. If it smells  the way it should, though exceptionally sour, it may just be sitting there  is a dormant state waiting to be fed. The only way to know is to give it  a meal

 Blend it back together again and to the 1 cup of starter feed it 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water for three days. Do this at morning and at night. Each day you will get more than 1 cup of starter so you can use the extra in sourdough pancakes or pizza crust.  You can also use the rule of thumb that is you have 2 cups of starter add 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water. You starter should be strong and healthy now. After feeding the starter for 3 days you it is ready to make bread or feed it again and place in the refrigerator. You should see bubbles everywhere and have a nice aroma. I like to use a quart jar to do this in so I can see the bubbles.

Ordinarily, you feed your starter when you remove some to bake with it. A good rule of thumb is to replenish its food and water at least once every week, preferably because you have used the starter for a wonderful loaf of sourdough bread, or a stack of pancakes .

While it’s been stored in the refrigerator, the alcohol will have separated and come to the surface. With a spoon or wire whisk, blend it back into the starter and then measure out the quantity of starter required by your recipe. Replace the amount taken with equal amounts of flour and water. Since most of our recipes are based on using 1 cup of starter, you would stir in a cup of flour and a cup of water. (This actually makes 1 1/3 cups more starter but you can adjust the amount whenever you want.)

I usually do this the night before I am going to use it. So in the morning it is ready to use.

Let the replenished starter sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours or over night to give the yeast a chance to multiply and become active.

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