The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Storing sourdough starter

ruri anggiani's picture
ruri anggiani

Storing sourdough starter

i have recently started making my own starter using a 1:1 ratio. I live in a tropical area where it's 86-92 F with 81% humidity. i read that i can put my starter on hold by putting it in the refrigerator and feeding it once a week by taking it out 1-2 hours before feeding, feed the starter, then let it sit for another 1-2 hours before returning it to the fridge. i have noticed that my starter does not rise at all  and had no bubbles unlike when i just let my starter sit on the counter (which rises vigorously and lots of bubbles). I understand that putting the starter in a cold environment slows down its process but i just thought that it would've at least rise just a little bit. Is it supposed to act that way?

eddieruko's picture
eddieruko

i regularly follow that practice of storing in fridge, feeding, and returning to fridge. if i notice it's lacking some gusto, i will use a day or two to feed it outside of the fridge. it's not uncommon after a week in the fridge for my starter to look quite sad, and without bubbles.

generally i try to make something with the discard from the fridge, like pancakes or waffles for the flavor. i will feed my starter on the counter, and a few hours later, use a portion of the starter for my levain for bread. 

when i started, i also noticed that the type of flour i use can alter its behavior. i have enjoyed baking with 100% rye starter now. but certain brands of bread flour (i.e. Central Milling from Costco) used would end up being really soupy. i'm sure there's more to that, too. 

all this to say, once you've gotten your starter going, they are pretty resilient. a feeding or too should bring it back to life!

Sylvaneer's picture
Sylvaneer

I'm also using a starter that's 1:1 and store it in the fridge, feeding it once a week.  Interior temperatures here are usually around 77 F. but I try to find a cooler part of the house lo keep the starter when I'm feeding it.  When I take mine out of the fridge, it often looks kind of blah, but I feed it immediately (no wait) and typically it's very active and has at least doubled within a couple of hours.  I'll leave it out for at least 4 hours before returning to the refrigerator.  This is with King Arthur AP pretty much exclusively.  

And this is just me, but I will feed my starter twice a day for a couple of days before I use it for bread because I've noticed that the longer I wait before I start baking with it, the better the bread tastes.  It's a noticeable difference.

ruri anggiani's picture
ruri anggiani

my starter doesn't rise even just a little bit after feeding. i usually just let it sit out for 2 hours max and return it to the fridge. does this mean that i need to let it sit out longer before returning? is it necessary to let the starter double before storing it?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Ruri, it is best to leave your starter out a while after feeding and before refrigerating.

Here is the reasoning. If you feed and then immediately refrigerate, the living organisms have no time to gain much growth and reproduce. Once the starter is cooled down the microbes are not near as active. So far the most part the microbes in the starter portion of your refresh feeding are the only ones the starter contains. The microbes will grow and regenerate but at a very reduced pace.

But if you leave it out after feeding so that it begins to grow, then the starter will have many more microbes and better prepared to go cold.

Dan

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

There is a method developed by our very own, dabrownman. It is extremely popular and used by many on this forum. Using his method will enable refrigerated storage for many months. Take a look.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/40918/no-muss-no-fuss-starter

Dan

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Have you baked with it yet?

ruri anggiani's picture
ruri anggiani

the starter is a month old now, but i haven't tried baking with it yet

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

You are two weeks late already:-)