Maintaining starter

Maintaining starter

⁃I keep my starter in a 1 quart glass jar with the lid on top but not sealed. You can also over with plastic wrap instead of a lid

⁃Sourdough staters are active organisms which means they need regular feedings for best results. I feed mine every 24 hours when I’m baking a lot with it. I prefer to bake with my starter when it has reached peak activity or has slightly fallen. This is when your baking will turn out at the best. After feeding, a mature starter with grow 2-4x in volume in a 24 hour period (sometimes sooner) and then begin to fall back down.

⁃I feed my starter daily:
100g of starter
100g of all purpose or whole wheat flour (I rotate often)
100g of Lukewarm water
Discard the rest

Take only 100g of your starter and discard the rest. Feed that starter with flour and water, combine all together and cover loosely and place a rubber band around the jar at the level your starter is at. Doing this helps track your starter's growth.

⁃Discard! You will discard starter with each feeding. You only need 30-100 grams of starter before a feeding. The extra can be discarded. Starter discard, do you have to throw it away? No! You can use discard for recipes! Simply store the discard in an airtight container in the fridge and use it when needed! Can be stored up-to 3 weeks, You can continue to add discard into the same container as well. You can make Pizza Crust, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, Waffles, etc. There are so many recipes you can use sourdough starter discard for!

⁃If you are using starter for a recipe that counts as the discard, you do not need to discard more. Just feed, whatever starter amount you have left. Hopefully anywhere from 30-100 grams.

⁃If you are not going to be using your starter for awhile you can store it in the fridge. Simply feed it as normal but cover the jar tightly and place in the fridge. When you are ready to use It again, remove from fridge and let it come back to room temperature and then feed.
*If you are going to leave your starter in the fridge for a long period of time, feed it every other week to keep It alive.

⁃I don’t recommend continuous refrigeration, but, it’s a great option for short-term breaks!

⁃Depending on how long it has been refrigerated, your starter may require an extra 2 to 3 regular feedings at room temperature before it has resumed regular activity levels and is strong enough for baking sourdough bread.

⁃If your starter isn’t active and bubbly, be patient! Switch up your flour! Try feeding it a high protein flour, I love switching and feeding with whole wheat or rye flour.
 If you aren’t sure if it’s active, you can do the water test. Fill a small cup with lukewarm water, take a spoonful of your starter and drop it into the cup, if it bounces back to the top its ready and active, if it sinks to the bottom, it is not ready and needs to be fed again. Let It sit for 1-2 hours (until bubbly) then test it again.

⁃Try placing it in a warmer area of your home (76F-80F is ideal). If your starter peaks in activity, feed it. If it sluggish, wait and give it more time. Sometimes time is the only thing it needs to gain strength. Starters have minds of their own!

⁃Oftentimes your starter will be bubbly at first and then slow down. That’s normal. It is common for a sourdough starter to have a surge in activity those first few days and then die down. This is normal and the results of another type of bacteria build up, not an indication that your starter is dead. It will pick up again with time and the right types of bacteria will increase and become stronger.  It is very difficult to kill your starter. DON’T GIVE UP!

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