Okay, we are on day two of our sourdough week! If you missed day one, check it out here. You guys excited to learn more about this awesome stuff? I am. Once you have your sourdough starter, you have to feed it.
Feed it? Really? Why?
Well, sourdough starter is what contains and sustains the wild yeast that makes your sourdough products. Yeast is a living thing; it’s actually a fungus. Living things need to eat in order to continue to live and reproduce, and so you feed your starter to give the yeast something to eat.
Feeding Sourdough Starter
The most important thing to remember is to use a 1:1:1 ratio. I’ve read that doing this ratio by weight is more accurate, but most people do it by volume and their starter is fine.
- 1 part starter
- 1 part water
- 1 part flour
Measure out your starter, probably either a half a cup or a whole cup, depending on how much you usually use in baking. You’ll need to feed the same amount of starter that you use in your recipe, as it will double when it’s fed, leaving you with leftover starter and enough to bake with.
Whatever starter is leftover either needs to be used up in a recipe, fed separately in a different container to make a new starter (if you’re giving it to a friend, for example), or discarded.
Measure out the same amount of water and flour. Mix it all together in the container you keep your starter in. Cover and let it do its magic.
Temperature and Frequency
If you find yourself baking with sourdough almost daily, you’re going to want to keep your starter at room temperature. It grows more quickly at warmer temperatures, which means you’ll always have enough active starter for your frequent baking needs. Repeat this process every twelve hours if the starter is at room temp.
If you only bake sourdough once or twice a week, keep the starter in the fridge, probably in the door. It grows slower at cooler temperatures. Make sure it doesn’t freeze; I don’t know about you, but my fridge has a couple spots that will occasionally get a little too cold and freeze. If you have any spots like that, don’t put the starter there. When the start is kept in the fridge, it needs to be fed 1-2 times a week.
If your starter has a dark liquid on top, you’re starving the yeast and it needs to be fed now. It may even need to be revitalized if it gets to this point.
The easiest way to stay on top of feeding the starter, of course, is to bake with it. Set a day to make sourdough bread every week, and don’t miss it. Feed the starter and bake your bread at the same time.