The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What do you store your starter in when it is in the fridge? Pics invited.

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nougat's picture
nougat

What do you store your starter in when it is in the fridge? Pics invited.

In conjuction with my other topic about when/how to clean your sourdough containers, I thought I would ask what we all KEEP our starters in and how we close those containers.

What type of container are you using? It seems the most popular are canning/mason jars and gladware or tupperware.

I have a few starters in glass jars with the lid screwed on lightly right now. In the past I have tried raising starters in gladware with the lid off and covered by saran wrap with a rubberband or with the lid on. All of the gladware starters failed or died a few months in. I previously attributed this to the container, but I see alot of others using these containers so I wonder if it was something else in the environment at those times.

I think I may conduct another experiment with a starter bread from the same mother in a few different types of containers. So, your answers here could help fuel my experiment. 

 

Anyway, feel free to post pics of your starter containers if you like. Otherwise, responses with your container of choice are highly anticipated.

ejm's picture
ejm

I started with a small mason jar to store my starter then switched to using a wide mouthed screwtop lidded jar (originally had habanero-stuffed olives in it). Early this year, during a nightmarish freak accident with our fridge shelf,  the jar was cracked. I rescued the starter and replaced the cracked jar with a small heavy glass (pyrex??) bowl with a plastic lid. I have used that, without incident, ever since.  By the way, I always wash the container and lid before feeding the starter.

 

(Click on links to see photos) 

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

I've just been using a tall, clear plastic container that, I think, would normally be used to store dry goods.  It comes with a lid and a removable plastic seal... which I've removed. :)  So the lid basically just sits on top and prevents any detritus from falling in.

The advantage is that it's a simple vertical cylinder, about 2-3 liters in capacity, with somewhere around a four inch diameter, which makes it super easy to reach in to, both for retrieving a portion of the starter, and for cleaning the container.  At one point I considered moving to a mason jar, but I found the mouth just too small to be convenient, so I switched right back.

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

I have a selection of glass jars with the metal clamp for closing - they come with a rubber gasket which I remove. I found all of them at thrift stores and all have wide mouths for ease of adding ingredients and removing the required amount. In my early sourdough days I used a handsome stoneware crock with a cobalt blue interior - until I found that the color had faded where the starter "tidemark" was. Made me wonder what had leached into the starter and that is when I changed to glass. I use a long handled ss spoon to stir the starter. It has an elongated flattish bowl and does a great job of cleaning down the sides of the jar to neaten things up. Then a strip of masking tape with the date and time to mark the level and back to the refrigerator, A.

beeman1's picture
beeman1

I use quart widemouth canning jars.

keesmees's picture
keesmees

in the past I used two simple pyrex containers for my sourdough with lid.

but I've always lots of fruit in my kitchen and the fruit fly (vinegar fly) is capable to penetrate these containers.

now I'm cultivating a commercial (not sour!) culture in a flask with fermentation lock

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/9191909@N07/2587715894/ 

(the simple plastic water-lock= 1€)

grtz kees

kanin's picture
kanin

I use 1 to 2 cup containers from pyrex. I never store more than a few ounces at a time so it's more than enough.

 

http://www.applepiepatispate.com

LindyD's picture
LindyD

A one quart glass jar with a wide mouth and screw-on top.  When it's in the fridge, it sits on any shelf that has room.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I like to keep my firm starters in a wide mouth one cup jar with screw on metal lid (the kind salsa/cheese dip is sold in) turned but not too tight, or small plastic container w/ plastic lid. I use plastic wrap and rubber bands when sitting on the counter top.

My three at the moment just fed:

 Say, "Hello!"

Firm starters, refrigerator 4°c

Mini O

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Glass jar with a screw on lid, closed tightly. In the fridge between weekly feedings and bakes.

Rudy 

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

I've ever used and have for 2+years. The lids will balloon up a bit, so I know if I need to open it to release some pressure. I keep mine in the fridge and have no problems, so I don't think your problem was because of this type of container.

suave's picture
suave

I use plastic deli containers.  Although my starter <almost> never sees the inside of fridge so it may not qualify, I guess.

Mike

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I keep my mother starters in glass. I've use Ball or Kerr canning jars, but my favorites are wide mouthed, 750cc jars with glass lids and rubber gaskets. I got them here:

http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?CATID=74177&PRODID=65152

When I'm activating starters, I mix in a heavy duty glass bowl and ferment in covered, graduated plastic containers designed for this. I got those from King Arthur Flour.


David

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Well thanks, David, now I know what some of my jars are. Sounds so much more ritzy than plain old thrift store jars! One or two of mine even have French writing on them, and now I know why, A.

Marni's picture
Marni

I planned to use a glass jar like David's, but after trying to get starter out without a mess, I realized my jar was too tall and narrow. 

I splurged at the local 99 Cent store and got the perfect square clear plastic tub with a lid that seals with a rubber gasket.  I generally leave it slightly ajar since I've read tht gasses can build up over time if left in the fridge.  When I'm using the starter regularly, I just angle the lid to protect it from anything in the air or cover it with a light towel. 

I do wonder about the safety of using plastic long term.  I've read so much lately about plastic degrading into the food contained in it.  The comment above (Annie's?) about the blue coloring wearing off makes me curious about the acidic quality of sourdough and its effect on its container.

Marni

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I'm a bit paranoid about where a product is made, so I always check. Anchor Hocking glass containers are made in the US, so that's what I buy. Glass won't absorb any contents like plastic will (think tomato sauce), plus I find it easier to clean.

Marni, try using a moistened ice cream scoop to remove the starter. I used to wind up with half the starter on the sides of the container until I tried the scoop.

Marni's picture
Marni

Thanks for the ice cream scoop idea.  I've been wetting and using a regular measuring cup.  It's pretty good, but the smaller size scoop might be better. 

I agree about checking where a product is made!  I don't know if they're made in the US, but I was thinking it would be great to get the old pyrex dishes that were made for storing leftovers.  My mother still has hers.  They came as a set of square and rectangular tubs in bright colors.  Each had a glass lid with ridges across the top that rested on top with no rubber or anything to grip.  Does anyone else remember these?  I bet they'd work great.  I found picture here:

http://www.pyrexlove.com/img/item/py_primaryrefrig500_4.jpg

Marni

Janedo's picture
Janedo

Whatever I can get my hands on and is made of glass... jars, bowl, etc. I don't have anything special because they are always changing places, getting mixed with other sutff, etc. I don't use plastic... Here in France everyone says it's a no no and I know people who have taken out of plastic and put in to glass and their starter seems happier. Is it just a cultural thing?

 Jane

Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

Just a normal half-litre Mason style glass jar with a different lid for each of the two starters. Since I keep them at 150g - a half-cup size - that's plenty of space when they stand on the counter and expand. In the fridge they don't grow quite so much so it's more than adequate.

 

Since I had the camera out for another pic, I figure I'd take a shot of the kids. Here are Carl and Audrey, fresh out of the fridge after one week and just about to get fed. The black line on the jar is where the starter is when freshly fed. Carl is rising a bit more than Audrey over their cold week. If I was making bread, here's where I'd start a third, larger jar (mayo) with the "discards" from whichever I wanted to use, feed these two and pop them back in the fridge after they sit out a bit.

 Carl and Audrey, sittin' in a tree...

Carl and Audrey, sittin' in a tree...

However, after reading Bill's Maintianing a 100% Hydration Starter thread, I'm going to give them a few hours out to grow before putting them back in. We'll see if that makes a difference. The kitchen is 79ºF so they should react somewhat quickly.

--------

Paul

holds99's picture
holds99

Here's a pic of my sourdough starter and container.  I recently switched from liquid starter to firm starter and am pleased with the results and, for me, it's more predictable and less wasteful.  I use a Post It note attached to the lid to indicate the date of last refreshment.

EDIT: The container is glass with a plastic gasket on the lid.

Sourdough Starter and Container 1Sourdough Starter and Container 1

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

I use a standard 1 Quart / Litre food grade plastic container sold in restaurant supply stores. I believe the price for three containers is around $6.00 U.S.D. They are easy to clean and withstand the sanitizing cycle of the dishwasher. As you can see the starter has no preferrences regarding plastic...,

Wild-Yeast

Pan au Levan

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Your starters look like they're in their Sunday best, what with the immaculate containers.

How do you manage to remove/refresh the starter without getting even a spatter anywhere?

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Lindy,

It's  a Firm starter and doesn't spatter.  I am a firm believer now...,

Wild-Yeast

josordoni's picture
josordoni

Hi Wild-yeast,

 how did you convert your starter?  and what flour do you use as a base?

I have a fairly stiff rye running very well, doubling every 12 hours and a happy little bunny.  And a white starter created from the same original pineapple juice starter (which I split to create two different ones)  which is sullen and won't do anything.  The rye is firm, the white much wetter.

Would it be better to convert the white do you think?

 

oh btb... just to keep on topic...both in small kilner jars...

Lynne's starters

 

Lynne's starters 

 

-----------------------------

Lynne

x

 

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

It is worth remembering that whole grain flours (such as whole wheat, medium rye, whole rye or dark rye) or absorb more water than refined flours (such as all purpose or bread flours).  Whether you mix a cup of water and flour or equal weights of water and flour, the whole grain mix will be firmer than the white flour mix.  How much firmer?  Bakers who make sandwich breads out of bread or AP flour usually have the dough around 65% hydration.  The same bakers make whole wheat sandwich breads around 86% hydration.

 

As to converting between firm and soft, it couldn't be easier.  Just add more, or less, flour.  My daily working starter is around 100% hydration.  My storage starter is around 65% hydration.  When I feed up the strorage starter for use, I just increase the amount of water I use.  If I want to convert the wetter starter to dryer, I just feed it at the dryer hydration and in a few feedings, it has stiffened up.

No magic, just change the water/flour ratio.

 

Mike

 

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Hi Lynne,

I'm not sure about the word convert? I will guess you mean from a liquid to a firm starter. Easy, I just mixed in more flour using the frissage technique followed by a 15-20 minutes autolyse rest and finally a kneading till the protein relaxes. It's then formed into a boule and placed in the container. If this sounds like breadmaking, it is, only without the salt which would take a toll on the yeast. I switch between counter top room temperature and refrigerator depending upon the direction of taste (sour vs. sweet) and the timing of the next bread build. I use white rye flour to increase the sour note when required.  Note: I don't measure anything.  It's all done by the guiding hand of experience...,

I can think of no better way to prepare the culture for its work as a bread leavening / taste enhancer than to match those conditions as closely as possible in the starter. Also, I always taste the starter before a new build. It indicates how the bread will taste but without salt and adjustments that might be necessary to keep it on track.

And the last question, the flour? Central Milling (Logan, Utah) Organic Flour with Diastatic Malt sold at Costco stores. I continue to be amazed that Costco doesn't sell out immediately after they take delivery of this wonderful flour. Pizza dough just pops out of the bag with this stuff!

Wild-Yeast

ron's picture
ron

 I use a tupperware container.  my starter's name is (droopy) after the cartoon character

karladiane's picture
karladiane

I love my Pampered Chef glass Pitcher Bowls, because they have markings on the side so I can see how much volume is there, and how much growth has occurred. I just put Saran Wrap with a rubber band on top instead of the plastic lid that came with it.

One note - I always scrub and rinse them with baking soda to remove any and all soap residue.

 

 

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog

I have three containers that I use for my starter.

Starter ContainersStarter Containers

I use the glass container on the right most of the time for the fridge.  The lid is just glass against glass so any gas that is formed can escape without any damage.  The other two I use from time to time just depends on what I find first and how I feel.  The middle one is nice because you can see if the starter is active or not.  The last one is my great-grandmother's crock and it fun to think that she might have used it to store her starter in. 

Tacomagic's picture
Tacomagic

I guess I'm the redneck here.  My main semi-liquid starter lives in an old Miricle Whip jar with a small crack in the lid (Hammer + Screwdriver = Crack).  It's lived there happily for several months now.  I've never really seen any difference between its rises in the MW jar as opposed to when it's rising in my litre pyrex measuring cup.  It lives in the measuring cup for 2 days leading up to it's use, then it goes back into its freashly cleaned MW jar.  The only downside of using the jar is that it's a bit tall and skinny, so I've been kicking around the idea of moving to something more low-profile... like a cool whip or margerine tub.  This will be important soon because I'm currently transistioning my starter to a firm starter, due to the good things I've heard about firm starters.

My starter cast-off lives in an old glass applesauce jar, where it waits patiently for the next round of crumpets to be made.  I leave the lid loose, when I'm letting it rise a bit on the counter, I remove the lid and use a rubber band to hold a quarter-folded papertowel over the top.  I keep my cast-off pretty liquidy, so it doesn't have much trouble pouring out of the jar.

Someday I may hit goodwill or a thrift shop and buy a nice jar, but for now... reduce, reuse, recycle... or maybe it's just me being too cheap to buy a jar.

Cheers,
Taco

Confusion is a state of mind... or is it?