The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Refrigerating a starter that's used daily

miamaria's picture

Refrigerating a starter that's used daily

Hi Everyone!

I would greatly appreciate any advice about how to best maintain my starter if I plan on using it 6 days a week.

Currently, I mix a batch of sourdough around 9pm, feed the starter at 10pm with a 1:1:1 ratio, and put it in the walk-in at 1am.  The next day around 3pm, someone else pulls the starter out of the fridge and leaves it out, but does not feed it.  I'm using about 1.5kg a day. 

The first day of the week I pull it out about 6 hours before I mix and feed a portion of it, making sure the total will be a little more that what I need for the batch.  I discard the rest.

I always thought it was best to keep the starter out if it's being used everyday, provided it's being fed on a regular schedule. 

The problem we're having at my current job is that the starter is moving too quickly after I feed it at night.  How can I slow it down a bit?  Also, I'm assuming that feeding it every 12 hours should be sufficient.  If I'm going to be the only one feeding it, can I just continue doing what I described above or will that have a negative effect on the starter?

Thank you so much for your help.


golgi70's picture

I might be able to help a bit with this as I've been learning by trial on this as well.  Previous job the starters were fed three times a day without retarding.  At my current job our Starter is primarily for Sourdough and we are much smaller scale so I attempted to get the sourness started and at the same time have a healthy happy starter by doing one feeding per day and retarding.  

I believe ours is 60 % starter:100 flour:100 h20

So far what has seems to work best for us is feeding around 4 pm leaving out for 8 hours build a levain for sour and then retard remaining starter.  Our retarder is a bit on the colder side so you may need to find the perfect amount of floor time.  But when we fed and went straight to the retarder it never "woke up" enough.  

Anyway we start with a cold starter and use cold water.  But our temps never exceed 70 or so degrees during the hours that the sour is out in the room.  And we only feed once a day.  I was skeptical at first but with the higher proportion of flour/h20 to starter it seems to have enough food and moves nice and slow.  For a better reference than hours I would place the starter back in the retarder as soon as I saw it starter to get active.  and place it down low so it gets colder faster.  Sorry to spew all that but I hope some of it helps.  


happy baking

amolitor's picture

  • Mix it a bit thicker

  • Add a little salt

both of those will slow it down as well. On the other hand, if you've got a system that works, why mess with it? Sounds to me like it's working fine..

Jeffrey's picture

It's been years since my starter saw the inside of the fridge, it gets fed most everyday, but there was a few times when it missed feeding for a week (not recomended).

Just make sure it's been fed at least twelve hours before using.  Most of the time I let it sit twentyfour.  Gives those slugish lb's time to get going.  It might take a couple extra hours, once you make the loaf, but it always rises.