The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Artisan Bread Every Day "Mother Starter"

fncll's picture

Artisan Bread Every Day "Mother Starter"

So, I've reached the point in my first homemade sourdough starter (using Reinhart's _Artisan Bread Every Day_ method) of having a "mother starter." I was surprised to discover that the mother starter is very stiff-- basically a dough. I thought sourdough starter was liquidy? Is the doughy starter right?

Also, I see that one only needs 1/2C or so of mother starter for a loaf-- so I have a LOT of starter... seems like far more than I need baking just a few times per week...

I created two starters, both started with white flour and one I've fed later with wheat (which is very active) and one with white (a bit less)...


hutchndi's picture

There is no law that says that a sourdough must be either thick and doughy or thin and runny, it does matter how this decision incorporates into your recipes though, and with that in mind, you can adjust your starter to be whatever you are comfortable with keeping, or readjust it so that it becomes whatever your recipe will be calling for. In warm weather I tend to keep a thick doughy culture as it seems to prolong the time between refreshing requirements (care and feeding). You also do not need to keep allot of starter going in order to keep a "mother". I have on occasion kept as small an amount as a walnut sized lump of dough as my  sourdough "mother".  Good Luck and congrats on your homemade starter!

Russ from RI

preacher1120's picture

You are right on target!  His mother dough is at 66% hydration, I think, which is sort of like a standard dough.  For me, it is just plain easier to handle than 100% hydration starter and works very well.  Also, I refresh the mother starter at HALF the weights he recommends.  I don't need that much starter.  As Russ said, you can keep even less and then build it back up over a day or two to whatever volume you need.