The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Beginner Sourdough feeding question

RusticCrust's picture

Beginner Sourdough feeding question

Hi everyone,

This is my first post on the forum, but I have been reading on here with interest for a number of months and I have been baking bread for just over a year now. I have just started taking an interest in Sourdough which has turned into a bit of an obsession. I have a Sourdough question which I cant seem to find a yes or no answer to with all the information thats out there. Is there any reason why I can't just feed my (for example) 400g ferment in the fridge with another 400g, of 2:1 flour water, mix well, leave for 24 hours in the fridge and use half of it for a loaf and the other 400g for next time (usually 48 hours before I mix again as my loaves seem to last 3 days in our house), repeating the process? I read on here about people throwing away half and feeding, and adding 200g of starter to their bread etc. It seems to be working for me without any waste and making nice bread. I am a beginner so if this is blasphemy apologies. ;)




Fred Rickson's picture
Fred Rickson

With a sourdough starter, the active organisms need to become active after the cold fridge.  Being at room temp for a few hours, and having a new source of food, gets your starter up and running before adding the new flour for a bake.  I just keep the starter jar half full in the fridge, add a couple of spoons of flour and some water, set it out in the kitchen till bubbles are present, pour half or so into a bowl and start a build.  Refresh the starter jar with flour and water, wait for bubbles and return to fridge.  Hope this what you are looking for.


jcking's picture

You seem to be describing a roling type of SD. Professional bakers will save enough of todays SD to overnite build a batch for the next days bake with no waste.


Ford's picture

I agree with all of the above.  I will add that there is no wrong way.  Whatever works for you is the right way!


Msloathsome's picture

Hello there, I am a novice baker and newbie to The Fresh Loaf, too, with a very similar question to the original poster, so I hope my question/comment doesn't hijack this thread. Please let me know if I should repost as a new thread. I also have been baking sourdough since last summer, and I do pretty much what RusticCrust does, except that I keep my starter unrefrigerated. I bake bread also about every two to three days. I never throw any starter away. I feed twice daily and let it build up until the crock won't hold it, then I scoop out almost all the starter, leaving just a quarter cup or so to build up again. I end up with about 3-4 cups of starter and just add some salt and enough flour to get the dough consistency I want. After kneading, I let rise in a loaf pan, usually overnight in the refrigerator. I bake the next morning. I have been very pleased with the loaves and the results from this process. Makes perfect sandwich bread with good sour flavor. Crumb is not too open, not too tight. So my question is, why do we ever need to throw starter away? From what I can tell, there are no recipes out there that tell you to just build up your starter and use up almost all of it. Like RusticCrust said, is this type of procedure blasphemous, and why?

placebo's picture

If you have a process that works for you, that's great. There's no need to fix what's not broken. I wouldn't call it blasphemous but perhaps unusual.

You do have to keep in mind, moreover, that not everybody wants to make the same bread you do. By varying the amount of starter used in a dough, you affect how it develops and how the resulting bread will taste. So while you might be satisfied with the bread your procedure yields, others will find it doesn't produce the bread they want. Also, you bake pretty frequently. Others like me don't. If we don't discard starter, we'll end up with a ton of it in short order.


Fred Rickson's picture
Fred Rickson

For what it is worth, in 50 years (since the 60s) I have never pitched any starter.  Especially with sourdough, you want all the yeast and bacteria you can muster. 

Enjoy it all.

margaretsmall's picture

I had to throw away a starter recently - a rye one which I'd had going for months. Went away for 2 weeks over Christmas, came back to find a layer of mould on top. Sad. Underneath it looked good, but I decided not to risk it.