The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Keeping sourdough long term in a jar

Poshgaffer's picture

Keeping sourdough long term in a jar

Dear Bakers,

We have successfully kept a sourdough alive for almost three months and we are pleased with the bread it produces. However, one great mystery remains. How do we keep the sourdough alive long term within the same jar?

The way we keep our sourdough alive currently  is to take 113g of the sourdough, mix it with 340g of flour and 220g of water. This new sourdough then grows for 3 to 5 days before we repeat the procedure.

We would like to keep the sourdough in an old glass jar (sealed lid) permanently and simply feed it without removing it every time. Does anyone know how this might be achieved? I have not found any real solutions online so far...

Many thanks for taking time out to read this.


Julian and Jelena





Alvaremj's picture

I also have been useing a starter I store in my refridgorator. I have been feeding (1-2 oz old starter, feed, let double, back in the fridge) every week or so for about two months and have had some sucessfull bakes. My question is has anyone had success using a protion of a starter kept this way directly from the fridge? Have you been able to get a rise in a reasonable amount of time (2-4 hrs)? I have had good results by taking 1-2 oz and feeding twice before baking. Although this does streach over at least 2 days. Any thoughts or comments are appreciated!



Alvaremj's picture

Sorry I realized I didn't respond to your question. You might want to try increasing the hydration of your starter. This way you can just stir in the new flour and water. It certainly changes your starter but it may be easier to keep. I haven't tried it myself but it seems like it would work.


Ray Martin's picture
Ray Martin

Dear Poshgaffers,


I'm still working on the best storage conditions, but I started with a very different attitude. I didn't like the 'one jar' methods I read about. The reason is: I was more concerned about some other cultures getting in there and ruining the ones I carefully set up. So I got a bunch of cheap, sorry, inexpensive, containers from my sister. They are plastic with tight fitting lids.

When it's time to feed, I take a freshly cleaned container right out of the dishwasher and add 20 g of the starter taken from the center of the previous container. The sides of the source container are the most likely places to harbor any unwanted guests. To the 20 g of starter I add 72 g of spring water and 88 g of flour. I mix throughly with a wooden chopstick also freah out of the diswasher.

If I'm just feeding to keep the little guys happy, they get 6 hours at room temp then back into the frige for a week. If it's bread time, then 24 h later I make a levain and another starter using 20 g for the starter as above and 112 g for the levain.

Why grams (g)? I tried measuring by volume when I first started and got very inconsistent results. I couldn't tell what was going right or wrong. When I finally broke down and bought a scale, things became a lot easier. and more consistant. And it tasted better.

Happy baking,

Ray Martin



tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

it's too much work to transfer to a new jar and wash the old one out? i'm not quite sure what you are after.

if you know what the jar weighs empty, you'll know how much starter you have and how much to remove before you add flour and water. i'll do this occasionally, but not for more than two or three cycles before i transfer to a clean container.

sphealey's picture

I'm a little puzzled by the question:  I've been keeping my starter(s) in one jar for over six years with no real problem.  I use quart mason jars without the gasket; once per week I remove 150 g of the 300 g total and refresh with a like amount of flour/water in the correct ratio.  Every year or two I refresh in a separate container and wash the jar, but as long as the starter stays sour (acid) it seems to keep its environment clean pretty effectively.


Ray Martin's picture
Ray Martin

Hi sPh,

It's a personl choice. I like the idea of keeping the starter in a fresh container much more than I like the idea of the convenience of using a single jar.

Both ways work, each has their own pluses and minuses.



dabrownman's picture

I think you are keeping too much starter.  I bake something about very day and only have 125 grams of stiff starter total in the fridge at one time with a levain on the counter always ready to go. I have a 33% each; rye, WW and AP starter.  The other 1% I don't know what it is?  I don't like having to feed, tend and throw away huge quantities of starter after feeding.  It is just a waste of flour - no?

jdchurchill's picture

since u r letting the starter go for a while your ratio of 340 flour and 220 water is ok.  however you could keep much less.  i keep around 100 g total of starter which would be 60g flour and 40g water at your 65% hydration rate.  and i usually refresh whatever stays in the container after emptying most of it for baking.  just put the water and make sure you scrape the bits from the sides into it and add the flour to that.  no fuss.  also i think u might get better results building your culture closer to you bake time.  for example i keep my starter in the fridge sun-thu and on friday take it out to the room temp and build it up saturday for baking sunday.