The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

3rd Starter

oskar270's picture

3rd Starter

This is my 3rd attempt to make a sourdough starter and so far it looks good.

Today it's the 3rd day since I started my latest starter which is based on John Ross recipe. I noticed on the 2nd day that the starter had about 3/4 of the surface covered with tiny bubbles and it had a pleasant sour smell like a beer; by the way I use now a wooden spoon to stir it and mix it. Today which is the 3rd day I continue and added another 1/2 cup all purpose flour + 1/2 cup water and let it sit in the counter with an average ambient temperature of 74 F.

Since I never made a starter neither a sourdough, I'm not sure what is next.

First how do I know that the starter is ready? I noticed that it takes 5 or more days to get a starter going.

Then assuming that the starter is good, what happens if I'm not ready to bake? Should I put it in the fridge? And if I do that how often do I feed it?

How long can I keep it in the fridge?


SnDBrian's picture

If the starter is nice and stable, go ahead and put it in your refrigerator. Feed it about once a week and it also does not hurt to stir it once in awhile.

oskar270's picture

Beginners luck I guess, LOL

I will put it in the refrigerator



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Your young starter may be getting hungry and smelling like beer again in 12 hours.  Then it might be wise to reduce it to a small amount to feed again like 1/4 cup starter 1/3 c water and 1/2 c flour.  (you can reduce the starter even smaller using tablespoons...  one table spoon starter, two of water and 3 of flour...  saves on waste.)  The rest is discard and can be used in pancakes or something.   You will have to reduce size and feed it every 12 hours. 

What kind of flour are you using?

oskar270's picture

Thanks for the helpful info; I'm using all purpose white flour

oskar270's picture

Since the starter will be in the refrigerator, when the time comes to feed it what will be the water temperature? Cold, warm, hot?

Yumarama's picture

it can get to double its size (maybe even three times) in about 4 to 6 hours after feeding. If you can get it to do that a few times in a row, you've got a good viable starter. If it does it once and then stops even after another feed, then your starter still needs to develop a few more days.

I wouldn't be putting it in the fridge quite yet, though, even if it's expanding after each feed. It's still very young and if you keep it out on the counter and feed it twice a day  for a week or even two, you'll help it to "mature" and get stronger. 

And Mini's point about reducing the size of the starter is spot on. My starter is just a little above 1/4 cup (10g starter, 20g water, 20g flour) so the most excess I would ever toss out if I wasn’t baking is 20g of flour.

And you could also give your starter a name. It's going to live with you for a long time, may as well think of it as a pet.

When I take Seymour out of the fridge, I use lukewarm water for his next feed, leave him out for an hour or so to get munching on the new food then back into the fridge. The excess I took out I then use in bread or toss into the compost.



A Hamelman BREAD baking group


oskar270's picture

After a few unsuccessful attempts finally I'm the proud owner of a beautiful starter.

Yesterday, the 5th day, it rose about 1" and it is very frothy with a wonderful smell.

After feeding it last night, today it was almost double!!!

I'm going to wait for another couple of days but the time now comes fast to make my 1st sourdough and I plan to try the Norwich which I found on this site.

Thank you all