The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough, okay now what?

trhoma6432's picture

Sourdough, okay now what?

I'm in my 5th day on my seed culture, following the steps in Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice". What Now? The book doesn't say what to do between day 4 and day 14. I don't want to use it yet so can I just put it in the refrigerator as-is and leave it for 2 weeks or what? The book  says that it will keep for 3 weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer but what do I do with it for those periods? Anything?

LindyD's picture

Check out WildYeast's blog and advice on SD starters.

Her tutorial on understanding baker's percentage is another great educational source.

jonqisu's picture

From what I've read, it seems that you certainly can use the barm immediately, but that if you're planning on storing it, you need to follow the directions on p. 231-2 of BBA for refreshing the dough if you don't use it within the first 3 days. To refresh, you double your barm with equal parts flour and water.

If you're referring to the commentary on p. 231 about not reaching the full flavor until after a number of feedings during a two week period, I believe this means you need to refresh/double the barm a number of times during that period, so follow the "Refreshing the Barm" section on 231. Otherwise, I suppose this is where the "If you have a lot of barm but haven't fed it for a while, discard all but 1 cup and refresh it with 4 cups of flour and 2.5-3 cups water" comes in.

It seems that you don't necessarily need to do anything to the barm if you dno't want to during those first weeks, but I know I'm itching to give it a try.

gaaarp's picture

I just did a blog, based on Reinhart's starter, but with my own alterations and experience.  Check it out:  It should answer your questions.

You'll note in the tutorial that I recommend starting to bake with your new starter right away.  Why not hone your sourdough baking skills while the starter develops its flavor?