The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Babysitting the starter...

smiddlet's picture

Babysitting the starter...

Hi all -- Thanks for the help in my 'Seed Culture Question' thread -- I've baked two batchs of sourdough bread, all very successful and highly delicious.

I'm leaving for the long weekend (Canada Day) and will be feeding my starter tonight, but will not be back to attend to it until Monday evening. That's about four days without any replenishing. From your experience, is that all right? Or should I give it to trusted friend to double it this Sunday? It's quite vigourous and is making great bread, so I'd hate to hurt it.


SourdoLady's picture

Don't worry--it will be fine. Starters can go for quite a long time without feeding and four days is nothing. I had one once that got shoved to the back of the fridge and didn't get fed for a year and it revived! I'm not saying that all starters would survive such neglect, however. It is also a good idea to dry some of your starter just in case something should ever happen to it. Once dried, put in a ziploc bag and store it in the fridge (label and date it).

andrew_l's picture

When you feed it, split it into two and make two starters - make one the way you normally do and feed as you normally do, make the other with more flour so it makes a stiff starter. I use 30 grams starter, 30 grams water and 50 grams flour.

A stiff starter will keep months in the fridge without feeding (it may go coffee coloured and divide itself into solid with a liquid above it).
When you do come to use it again, stir it, put about a table spoonful in a bowl with two tablespoons of water and two of flour, leave overnight and it is then ready to feed and proceed as usual.

I would keep both starters in the fridge...

And don't worry about it - they are amazingly resilient!!


smiddlet's picture

Excellent -- I read around the site after posting yesterday and it sounds like keeping it in the fridge will be fine. I fed it last night and it performed wonderfully. I'm especially interested in the drying-out of the starter as well as the stiff starter. I'll give both a try.