The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough feeding

blackoak2006's picture

Sourdough feeding

I started some sourdough starter two weeks ago, and have been feeding it twice a day without putting it in the refrigerator.  It has been working good, and smelling great.  I just made a loaf of sourdough bread, and the recipe required 2 cups of starter to make.  The bread turned out great, but now I am wanting to make multiple loafs, so here is my question....... Do I keep dumping some of the starter when I am feeding, or do I just keep adding flour and water?  I am adding 1/2 cup of flour to 1/4 cup of water.  Thanks in advance for the help.

Niashi's picture

I've found that this is a rather reasonable explanation to what you're asking.


At feeding time, increasing the feed is how you would increase the amount of starter.  THere are a couple of threads that discuss increasing the size of your starter, so look around/search around =.)


Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

You want to provide your starter with a nice big meal before asking it to rise a loaf of bread. So, start out by "building" your starter to the required size, giving it plenty to eat and making it strong and fresh.

Many recipes include this build in the steps for the recipe. I really like Hamelman's Bread for this reason. He is very clear on how to do these steps. I recently did 3 loaves of rye. For three entire loafs it called for 14ounces of starter. This starter was built according to the recipe with 0.4 ounces of mature rye starter, rye flour and 87% water. He even tells you how much to hold back and store in the fridge for next time. (t1tbsp +1tsp)

You'll be much less confused if you get a scale. Then you can build your starters at any hydration for any recipe, plus know exactly what hydration you're maintaining your starter. You probably have about a 100% starter right now.

You can use all the starter you have and build it for a recipe but if you have more then say, 1/4 cup you will probably not be giving it enough food (unless you're planning on baking 10-15 loaves of bread), without discarding or using some of it in pancakes/english muffins. That's part of the reason I keep a very small amount of starter in the fridge. I just never need much more than a tablespoon or two. 0.4 ounces is a pretty small amount and it was multiplied by 10 to get 3 loaves of bread in 12 hours. Sometimes I'll use my "discard" and make a 1-2-3 bread (1 part starter, 2 parts water-3 parts flour), adjusting the water for whole grains and adding 1.9% salt.

Search this site and you'll find lots of information on building your starter to bake with. Get a couple of good books. Bread and BBA are good, I think Bread is more clear on starter directions. And, relax/have fun!



blackoak2006's picture

I figured out that I was just starving my starter by trying to save money in the throwing away starter, and then adding back in flour.  I have since reduced the size of my starter base, and will do it right from now on.  Guess that is the learning curve my mom taught me about.  Should have listened to her more or at least paid attention.  Thanks for the help.

wally's picture

Could you share the recipe with us?  Two cups of starter is a lot for a loaf of bread - even a large loaf!


blackoak2006's picture

2 Cups of sponge, 3 cups of unbleached flour, 2 tablespoons of olive oil or softened margarine, 4 teaspoons of sugar, and 2 teaspoons of salt.

To the sponge, add the sugar, salt, and the oil.  Mix well then knead in the flour a half-cup at a time.  Carry on as usual in bread making.  Make into a loaf and place on a cookie sheet.  I put mine on a lightly oiled stone, and let raise again, and then turned on the oven to 350 and let cook 30 min.  It really did turn out well, so that is why I was wanting to keep using this recipe.  This makes one loave.