Instructions for maintaining a sourdough starter

 So, you’ve got yourself some of our pHlour “mother.” There are some basic instructions on the tag attached to the jar of starter, but you might want some further instruction as to maintenance. The first thing to figure out is when you want to bake. Depending on the dough recipe you will probably need to feed the starter to increase its mass. This takes a few feedings, so if you know ahead of time that you want to bake using the starter plan for the additional time it will take to get your culture up to snuff. You can follow the 1:1:1 method of starter:flour:water.

Your starter can take a rest in the fridge. If you don’t plan on baking for some time just place your starter in the fridge. It will last for a long time there. We recommend taking a peek at the starter every month if it’s in long term storage. You may notice a dark, watery coating develop on the top of the starter. This is called the “hooch.” If you notice this the starter is in need of a feeding. You should either remove the layer of hooch or mix it back in to the starter before feeding it using the 1:1:1 method.

If it’s been a while and you’d like to use that starter that’s been in the fridge you’ll need to spend some time waking it back up. It is a good rule of thumb to feed the starter once for every week it’s been in storage before baking with it. We recommend an 8-hour cycle of feedings using the 1:1:1 method.

Feeding your starter is very simple. You don’t need a mixer of any kind, and your hands are really good as they are. It’s a good idea to use a kitchen scale for all baking. Mass is always more accurate than volume. The same is true for some simple sourdough starter care. Mix a 1 part flour, 1 part water, and 1 part starter in a mixing bowl. Get your hands dirty and go to town. Mix well by avoiding leaving dry spots in the mixture. If you are just maintaining the starter mass discard of additional starter left over from the previous mixture. If you are trying to grow your starter for a specific recipe use all the starter and match, in mass, the amounts of new flour and water. Let your starter ferment in a tall cylindrical container. Wide mouthed glass jars are pretty good for this. Build up your starter to more than the recipe calls for so you have some left to use later down the road.

If you have more questions shoot us an email.