The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Newbie Question About Starter

Gags08's picture

Newbie Question About Starter

Silly question... I began my starter 22 days ago, have been feeding it regularly and I'm getting ready to make my first loaf. I'm using the Tartine recipe. Once I make my the dough, it says to use the leftover levain to begin my new starter. Does this mean I have to feed it another 20 days or so before I can make bread again? How would I go about making another batch say within a week of my first batch? I'm pretty confused. How do they make it work in a commercial bakery like tartine? How would I use the same starter to make bread every day?


MaximusTG's picture

It is not that hard; You have your sourdough culture, or starter. When you first start it, it takes a long while, since there are different micro-organisms competing in your culture. It takes a while for the ones you want to get the upperhand. But once it has reached that state, it is much quicker to get ready.

So you have your starter. Say 150 grams of it. Quite active. But you are going to bake a lot of bread, and need 150 grams, which would use it all up. So the day or two days before you need the starter, you feed it flour and water to build it up in quantity. Say until you have 300 grams. Then you take what you need. But you should never use it all up!

You can keep it on your counter or in the fridge. If you keep it on the counter it is much more active, so you can use it  faster. But you do have to feed it a lot more. 

In the fridge it can go weeks without feeding, but if you want to use it again, you should definitely do a couple of feedings, followed by a 24 hour period, possibly tripling or quadrupling it in size each time. 

for example, you have 100 grams of starter in the fridge, hasn't been fed in quite a while. You will see a grayish liquid will form on top, with a slimey sediment. 

You take it out, pour out the liquid and take for example 50 grams. You want to quadruple it in size, until it is 200 grams. So you feed it 150 grams flour/water. Etc. etc. 



phaz's picture

pull what you need for the bake, always leaving some starter left so you can feed it more flour and water. don't discard any starter when you feed, that way you will be increasing the total amount of starter with each feed. the more often you bake, the more often you feed, the more starter you will have. I usually bake twice a week. I keep about 100 grams starter after a bake, and after feeding for about 3 days, I'm up to about 500 grams starter. I pull what I need, leaving about 150 grams. feed for a couple 3 days and it's back to 500 grams again. pull what you need, feed, so on and so forth. bake less often - leave less left over and feed smaller amounts. bake once every couple weeks - feed and store in the fridge. remove from fridge a day or 2 before using and feed a couple times to make sure everything is active, away you go!

happy baking!