The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Barm Health Question/Opinion

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nadira2100's picture

Barm Health Question/Opinion

Ok, so I made a sourdough barm (starter.....are those words interchangeable???) using whole wheat flour. The thing took off! I used Peter Reinharts method from The Bread Bakers Apprentice (not sure if that's relevant). SO, now I have 6 cups of barm ready to be used as needed. I'm not able to make any bread from it now so I stuck it in the fridge. How long should I let it go before I refresh it? The book says it'll be good in there for 2 months.....and my question would any of you handle this??? This is my first starter and I know different people handle their barms differently. I will only use it probably once every 2 weeks or so. Should I keep it at room temp? Should I refridgerate it? How many times do I refresh for each? etc. etc. After reading through so many opinions on how to keep your barm healthy I'm really confused. 


Ford's picture

This is my procedure.  I store the starter in the refrigerator for weeks, perhaps as long as a month, before removing and refreshing.  My normal procedure is below; the amounts may vary depending upon how much starter I need.  My most frequently used recipes require about 27 ounces Av. (weight).  I also have some dried starter in a plastic bag as backup in case of disaster.

Remove 3.3 ounces of starter from your supply.  (Weigh your supply and refresh with equal weights of unbleached flour and chlorine-free water.)  Mix 3.3 oz. of water and 3.3 oz. of flour with the starter and allow to stand at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.  To this mixture, add 9.9 oz. of water and 9.9 oz. of flour and mix well.  Allow this to stand another 8 to 12 hours at room temperature.  This gives you 29.7 oz. (about 3 1/3 cups of refreshed starter.  Use that which you need and mix the rest with the stored starter.