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How to Feed a Sourdough Starter

how to feed a sourdough starter 2

When I first wanted to make sourdough, I had no idea how to feed a sourdough starter.

Sourdough is the king of bread in my opinion.

A true sourdough is an old and ancient bread that is nutritious, easier to digest, and best of all delicious.

I am particularly fond of the sour, tangy sourdough bread.

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The flavor is wonderful, unbeatable and unique when it comes to bread.

Did I mention that it lasts longer than yeasted bread? 

The thing that keeps more people from making sourdough bread is the time that is required.

Not only do you need to make your starter (which you can also buy), but you need to feed and maintain your starter in the fridge.

It is true that making a starter from scratch is a bit time consuming, requiring at least 5 days.

But it is an easy process and one that when followed properly will give you something that has the potential to last forever.

And maintaining sourdough starters is much easier than you may think.

With a starter in the refrigerator you will always be ready to bake a sourdough bread recipe that will be robust in flavor.

The actual bread making process will be much longer with this method of bread baking, but certainly worth it.

So let’s dive in and I’ll show you how to feed a sourdough starter.

What is a Sourdough Starter?

how to feed a sourdough starter 1

A sourdough starter is the part of your dough that will have gone through a fermentation process allowing the dough to rise.

Normally begun using wheat flour, and water, loosely covered and left out at room temperature to allow for natural occurring yeasts to feed on the flour and begin the fermentation process.

During this process it is important to cull your starter at the same time as feeding it.

This is done for a few days until the starter has the ability to sustain the fermentation with being fed once a week to ten days. 

Starters can last a very long time if they are well taken care of.

As long as when you use an amount of starter, you feed it so it continues to grow.

No one knows how old the oldest starter is, but in my research I found an article from 2011 about a woman in New Castle who was maintaining a starter that was 122 years old.

As you can see good starters are passed down from generation to generation, just like a family heirloom.

Start yours today!

How to Make a Sourdough Starter

When making sourdough starter it’s important to follow the process carefully to be sure you get the best chance of creating a starter that will be long lasting.

It is a process of allowing the wild yeast in the air and on the whole wheat flour begin to feed on the new additions of fresh flour.

Once you have a starter add flour and water on a regular basis to feed and keep healthy.

That is all there is to it.

See the recipe below for a step by step guide.

How to Use a Sourdough Starter

A sourdough starter can be used as the sole leavening agent for your bread without the addition of any additional yeast.

This method will provide you with a very tasty, crunchy loaf of bread.

The only catch is that it can take up to 24 hours to get your loaf! 

Nowadays it is common that a bread recipe calls for an addition of yeast to the ingredients along with a cup of starter to speed up the process.

In this case the starter will act more as a flavor agent as opposed to only leaveaning the bread.

Where to Buy Sourdough Starter

I haven’t found any supermarket yet in the States that sells fresh sourdough starter.

However, King Arthur Flour sell a really great 1oz pot of fresh sourdough starter.

Otherwise this live sourdough starter from Breadtopia is a great way to start.

Read on below if you want to make your own and how to feed a sourdough starter.

Sourdough Starter Recipe

DAY ONE

  1. Mix a cup of whole wheat flour with half a cup of water at room temperature.
  2. Ideally put it into a quart size glass container, cover loosely, and leave on the counter at room temperature for 24 hour.

DAY TWO

  1. Remove all but four ounces of the starter from its container.
  2. Discard removed starter.
  3. Add one cup of unbleached all purpose flour along with half a cup of water to the 4 ounces of starter.
  4. Stir until all the flour is absorbed.
  5. Cover loosely and allow to sit at room temperature for another 24 hours.

DAY THREE

  1. You should start to see some changes to your starter in the form of little bubbles, and a very distinct aroma.
  2. You will see that your starter has started to stretch and grow.
  3. Once again weigh out 4 ounces of the starter and throw away the rest.
  4. Add one cup of all purpose flour and half a cup of water to the starter and mix until all the flour is absorbed.
  5. Cover loosely and leave at room temperature for 12 hours.

DAY FOUR

  1. Time to feed twice a day.
  2. Just as before, remove all but four ounces of the starter and discard the excess.
  3. Add 1 cup all purpose flour and half a cup of water to the remaining starter and mix until all the flour is absorbed.
  4. Cover and leave at room temperature for 12 hours.
  5. Remove 4 ounces of starter and discard the rest.
  6. Add 4 ounces of starter to 1 cup all purpose flour and half cup water and repeat process as above.
  7. Leave for 12 hours.

DAY FIVE

  1. Repeat the feeding as above.
  2. Leave for 12 hours.
  3. By the end of day five you should see a lot of changes to your starter with a lot of evidence of bubbling and expanding.
  4. Feed one more time by discarding all but 4 ounces of the starter, and adding 1 cup of flour and half a cup of water.
  5. Mix until all the flour is absorbed. 

And that’s it!

That is how you feed a sourdough starter.

Your starter is now ready to use.

Put any remaining starter in the fridge and feeding your starter once a week using the method above.

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Hello! I’m Chef Tariq.

I’m a food, travel & lifestyle blogger who is passionate about Middle Eastern fusion cooking. I travel to eat and I share my experiences along the way!

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Hello! I’m Chef Tariq.

I’m a food, travel & lifestyle blogger who is passionate about Middle Eastern fusion cooking. I travel to eat and I share my experiences along the way!