The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

starter size

pjeterschornstein's picture
pjeterschornstein

starter size

Hey all!

 

so I got my first sourdough starter running for a couple of weeks now.

Been backing with it almost everyday. I've been making some pancakes (yum!) and few loafs of bread .

since I like to use it more I'm not sure about this:

I've been keeping my starter in a 70ml glass container above the the fridge and sometimes in the fridge and I'm feeding it with 4 spoons of white flower and water every 8 -12 hours.

Could I use a much bigger container and feed it triple the amount? and on the other occasions, could I use the bigger container and feed less- as in less the half the amount of the starter I leave in the container? 

Thank you!

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Is to keep little in the fridge and take some off to feed each time you need some. What's in the fridge will be your starter and the off shoot starter you build with it will be the levain(s). When your starter runs low just take it out, build it up again and return it to the fridge. 

Ford's picture
Ford

Lechem gave good advise.  I would suggest that you refresh the mother starter at least every two to three weeks.

Ford

pjeterschornstein's picture
pjeterschornstein

Is it because it would be too sour otherwise?

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Refrigerating will slow it down enough so you don't have to feed it everyday as you would if it was on the countertop. But it still needs feeding.

What I do is to build just enough, 80-100g, where it'll last a little while but not too much where I find I need to feed it again before I've used up enough where it'll need another feed. This minimalizes any need for discard.

Yes, it is true the longer it goes between feeds the more tang but when using this way the focus of the flavour is more dependant on the levain (off shoot starter) build and how it's used within the dough and the starter is basically your "petri dish" for the yeasts and bacteria. However I'm sure it'll have some effect but just how much is up for discussion.

If it's been quite a while since the starter has been fed then it is a good idea to do two builds for a levain, and when building up the starter, to ensure strength. But certainly for the first week (or two, depending on how well your starter is performing) it should be fine.

pjeterschornstein's picture
pjeterschornstein

Ok.  So, if I understand- I'll make my 70ml jar full of starter and put it in the fridge. then I take from it to build a starter for recipes (levain). It's unfortunate I wont have an excuse for pancakes every morning if I keep it refrigerated and don't need to discard nothing..

In any case, do you feed it once a week still ?

I guess I still have some stuff to learn, as you can tell I'm a bit confused.. but there's time :)

Lechem's picture
Lechem

But there's nothing stopping you from purposefully making some starter for pancakes. Starter doesn't have to only be for bread. If you wish to use it for anything else then by all means build extra.

The only way to not be confused is to use it. The more you maintain and use your starter the more it'll become second nature. We were all confused at first. And we won't be the last.

No doubt your method for maintaining a starter will alter a few time over the coming months till you find your own way that suits you best. The only thing everyone else can do is show you how they maintain theirs and you'll be able to get ideas. There's no one correct way. The only thing you have to do is to feed it and keep it healthy.

pjeterschornstein's picture
pjeterschornstein

Thank you Lechem! (hehe just notice your bread name :) feeling much more comfortable in my confusion. Going to try your suggestion now !

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Try my suggestion and see if you like it. But at the same time learn from everyone here to find what suits you best. If you're baking once a week then build a little starter and refrigerate. It'll last for a week in the fridge. When it comes to baking take some off and build a levain specific to the recipe you're following and then re-feed your starter etc. Doing it like this enables you to keep one starter but at the same time build other starters which might not have the same flour nor hydration.

Rake_Rocko's picture
Rake_Rocko

when I know I am going to be baking, I will take my starter out of the fridge a few days (usually about 3) in advance and feed it right away. I usually feed it in the morning before work at around 6:30 am. Then I will refresh that night before bed. And then continue in that same process for the next couple days so i know the yeasts are back up to full strength and i know that the really sour stuff has worked its way out. Ill make my levain and refresh my starter at the same time. Then I will put the starter back in the fridge until I am going to bake again. Here's how i try to time it out:

Wednesday: Take starter out, refresh at 6:30am, refresh before bed

Thursday: Refresh at about 6:30 and before bed.

Friday: refresh at about 6:30, make levain before bed, also refresh starter before bed and put back in fridge.

Saturday: mix/bulk/shape etc.

Sunday morning: bake

This is what's worked for me and my schedule. I have found I am baking every other weekend so this works great for me. Also, I don't do a whole lot of other miscellaneous sourdough baking, so this may be an issue with you. But, I think it was Lechem that suggested just taking some of the starter straight from the fridge and that can be like an "off shoot" for your pancakes etc. 

anyways, this is just what i do and if i can help someone else at one point or another, then that makes me happy. haha! Happy baking!

Eric

pjeterschornstein's picture
pjeterschornstein

Thanks Eric! It is helpful. I'll try that too, see what works best for me :) 

 

Arjon's picture
Arjon

How often and how regularly you want to bake are considerations, as is whether you want to keep a mother starter that's used to make production starter that has to mature before it's mixed into the final dough, or a production starter that you mix right into the dough. If the former, you can keep a smaller amount, although the difference can be quite small, especially if you're making only a loaf or two at a time.