The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Waking Up Sourdough Starter

Carb Addict's picture
Carb Addict

Waking Up Sourdough Starter

I keep my starter in the fridge as I don't bake more than once a week. BTW, I'm pretty new to making sourdough  bread. When I have used it, I take out 50g (100% hydration) and add 25g of H2o and 25 of flour. After I see it double, I add 25g of H2o and 25 of flour again. That gives me enough (100g) for the recipe I am currently using. Essentially I am substituting the sourdough for the 1/4 tsp instant yeast that the original recipe calls for in a no knead recipe (although I do a series of 4 stretch and folds at the beginning, 20m minutes apart.

So now the bigger question is, if you have a recipe that cals for a larger amount of starter, let's say 300g, do you take out 50g of your starter from the fridge, can you  just add 125g of H2O and 125g of flour and let it double (to make sure it is active) and then use it. OR, should you take more time to gradually build it up. t the amount you require for the recipe. OR, does it not matter?


pmccool's picture

Either way will give good results. 


TopBun's picture

As Paul said, either way will work.  One thing to consider is how much you want to dilute the acid build-up (acid load) before you bake. Starting out with a higher ratio of new flour to starter will reduce the initial acid levels in the levain you’re building to bake with, whereas using more starter per unit of new flour has the opposite effect. So your usual method will make for an initially higher-acid levain, but your proposed method will create a milder one to start. Of course, the longer you let the levain (or final dough) ripen the higher the acid level, but being aware of this gives you more control at all stages of the process.  I personally like less acidic sourdough bread, so I tend to feed and build my starters/levains at a high ratio (such as 1:3 starter to fresh flour) so that I can harvest the levain at a younger stage for a less acidic start to my dough.

Carb Addict's picture
Carb Addict

Thanks. I also do not like very acidic sourdough. It wasn't aware of the affect the ratio would have on that.So I tried this and it was way easier to shape. Last night I refreshed the starter by adding an equal amount of H20 and flour to the starter i.e. 50g starter from the fridge and added 25g each water and flour. Let it eat for 4 hours until it doubled. I tried the following experiment and it turned out well.

100g starter, 200g AP, 100g whole Red Fife, 230g H20, 10g salt.

Mixed, 4 stretch and folds 20 minutes apart, ferment on back porch (very cool) for ~7 hours. Into kitchen and let sit 2 hours. Shaped and proofed for 45 minutes. Onto screaming hot stone 550 degree oven. 30  minutes baked covered with big roasting pan lid. 20 minutes uncovered art reduced 450 degrees. I have a picture of the loaf cooling but it got eaten before I took a pic of the crumb. Not bad, lots of channels but not HUGE ones. The taste was fantastic and the texture really nice.

This is slightly less hydrated than what I normally bake with. But it was way easier to shape the batard. So I think the issues with shaping a batard with my  usually  higher hydration dough was my major problem. Also, as  you suggested, I reduced the fermentation time and made sure it was cool for most of that time.

If you know a way of uploading images to this site (not a link), I would post a picture.