The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

To fridge or not to fridge

sparklebritches's picture

To fridge or not to fridge

I'm a bit confused--using ABED seed culture/mother culture instructions.   Everything has gone swimmingly and much more quickly than I thought it would and I've created the mother culture, per the directives in the book.   

The book now says to put the mother in the fridge and it will be good for 5-days.  While looking around for more info, I see that many others keep the starter out and feed it daily. (?)   I'm assuming this is better?   I understand it will get better in time, no rush to use it just yet.

So, keep it out and feed it daily for a few weeks, correct?   I just put them (2, one for a friend) in the fridge as the book said.

silkenpaw's picture

... and no single one is better. I keep mine in the fridge because I use it only every 3 days or so and I'm too cheap to feed it every day (since I'd be discarding a lot of flour that way). If you are trying to nurse a sick starter back to health, then I think room temperature is better, otherwise do whatever you prefer.

RikkiMama's picture

The starter you made from ABED is a relatively firm starter (67% hydration).  There's no problem storing it in the refrigerator and feeding it about once a week.  I also used the method from ABED to make my starter last spring. (Method was actually developed by Debra Wink - do a search for Pineapple Juice Solution on TFL for her blog on how she developed this method.) 

The starters that are kept at room temperature and fed once or twice daily are typically liquid starters (100% hydration).  These need a more constant feeding schedule since there is less food for the yeastie beasties and good bacteria than in a firm starter. 

I usually feed/refresh my starter at least once if I'm planning to make bread.  I found I get much better results than using a starter that hasn't been fed/refreshed for 5 days.  Also, I add a small amount of whole wheat or rye flour along with the bread flour when I feed my starter.  It seems to help keep my starter healthy.  My typical refresh/feeding ratio is:

30 g starter: 60 g water: 90 g flour (10 g WW or rye + 80 g bread flour)

If you're like me and bake bread only on the weekends, then maintaining a firm starter in the frig works very well.

sparklebritches's picture

Thank you for clearing up my confusion.   This starter is rather tacky but like a large, expanded ball rather than a batter.

I'll probably use it every 3-4 days.