The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Developing and Maintaining Starter

hotsawce's picture

Developing and Maintaining Starter

i know there are many threads on this topic but I've reached information overload.

From the tartine method, to Ken Forkish's method which seems to create a lot of waste, to a confusion of terms (maintaining leaven, which I thought referred to a poolish or intermediate step from starter to final mix but apparently not.)

Can anyone recommend the least wasteful way to begin and maintain a sourdough starter, that I would feed or refresh on bake day and could use in either a) a direct dough like baker's yeast or b) in an intermediate step, like using a small amount for a preferment of a portion of flour before the final mix. 

I would develop my starter to leaven 25lb bags of flour up to 50lb bags, so using the Forkish method, for example, would result in tons of waste and I don't believe it's practical for what I want to do

leslieruf's picture

posted by dabrownman, a long time member of this forum. Just use the search box above.  Many of us here use this and it works brilliantly!


SeattleStarter's picture

I tried the Forkish method recently... and that's how I ended up here ;)

This link references some great material, but then has a good recipe/guide with photos. Spoiler alert, the juice starter "wins". I'm doing a starter with orange juice that has behaved exactly as described.

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

If you're going to be building up a starter for batches that weigh 25-50#, you're going to need time. You could start by building your starter from scratch using methods archived on this site or you could get a bit of someone's existing starter and save a week or so for your schedule. If you have no access to someone's starter, then you could always consider one of the starters that are sold on Amazon. Some might call that cheating but if time is of the essence, it's your call and not theirs. Once you get there, the "No Muss, No Fuss" system will prove to be your friend.

Whatever you choose, you will end up with a lot of discard before you get to your required active and healthy leaven. Be sure to find some recipes that will let you utilize the discard. Some use it for pancakes, I use some of mine in flat breads and pizza. That's part of the learning curve.