The Fresh Loaf

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Sourdough Starter

JJDanielsIV's picture

Sourdough Starter

Hey guys! So I just got some sourdough starter from a place I work ( one of the other locations) and I was wondering how do I go about figuring out the "schedule" to feed it. I fed it a 1:1:1 ratio, but was told after they usually do 2:1:1, the first part being the starter. It seems to being doing pretty well, after 5 hours it is about twice as big. 


This is the first time I've really kept a starter, I've tried to start one before from scratch and it never seemed to work out, so I would love if I could keep it alive. 


Please help!

drogon's picture

and feed it when you want to use it.

If this is used in a big bakery then thy may well be keeping it going out of the fridge because they're using it daily (and using lots of it). I use mine 5 days  week and it still goes in the fridge after use.


jameseng's picture

I like "The Bread Builders"/Daniel Wing's guide to maintaining a starter. I use my starter once a week so he says to feed the starter, let it sit at room temperature for an hour and then put it back in the refrigerator where it will keep until a week later when you repeat the process. In the past I've run into problems maintaining a starter when I used it IRREGULARLY, meaning I wasn't baking regularly so the starter would eventually die because I wasn't feeding it on a consistent basis.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Give it 8 hrs (another 3) to see how long it takes to peak.  note the time, feed ratio, water, flour and room temp and if you can the starter temp.  Once it peaks, reduce and feed again.  If you need more starter simply feed another 1:1:1.

For the fridge, feed, let it rise about 1/3rd to peaking, then chill and use after it has been chilling for 4 days at 4°C.  It's good for one or two weeks easy.  Can use "as is" or use part of it to inoculate more starter keeping it safe in the fridge.  Don't forget to cover and label.

Have fun.   

enchant's picture

Ok, so if I want to make some dough, I just pull my starter out of the fridge, take what I need, and then back into the fridge?  No thawing?  No pre-feeding or any of that?

drogon's picture

on many things. Mainly just how active you think the starter is.. I'd leave it out of the fridge for a few hours after feeding though. I used to put it back when I was doing one loaf a week, but feel that it benefits being at room temperature for a few hours before going back into hibernation...

See e.g. this:

Also your own philosophy comes into play. Some people like complex procedures, and want to feed and nurture it in a certain manner to produce a certain type of bread, and this is fine - do what works for you. There are things I do "because that's the way I've always done it" which may appear weird to others... I know that my starters work from the fridge - however these days I need more starter than I keep in the jars, so my process usually starts round about 3-4pm, starter jar from fridge - use to make more starter, top-up jar, then use at about 8pm and put jar back in fridge.

you need to find something that works for you and not be a slave to your starter - unless you want to be ;-)


Arjon's picture

It depends on your starter, your maintenance method, how much you use relative to the amount of dough you're making and probably other factors as well. 

For example, I keep 150 gm which is 1.5x the amount of starter I use most often. I use it straight from the fridge, feed the part that's left, leave it at room temp for a couple of hours then refrigerate it. If I used a maintenance method whereby I only kept say 30 gm, I'd have to make a levain then my final dough each time I bake. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I went back and corrected the fridge temp, now reads 4°C.  Got new glasses and I still can't read!  Lol

Yup as simple as that...  no thawing, I changed the fridge temp... 1°C is a bit too cold.  :)

Take what you need.  If there isn't enough for the next loaf, then use some of it to inoculate more flour and water.  Let that rise like previously stated...(partially) and tuck back into the refrigerator.  

If you find the starter slacking off or not doing its job, make sure it mature on the counter top.  Feed it a few times without storing the fridge.  Wait until it peaks, levels out and starts to fall back (I usually nip some of the starter for bread)  and feed it again.  When partially risen, back into the fridge.

T. Fargo's picture
T. Fargo

  Hello Mini Oven.  Your post here got me to thinking about my roots in the restaurant and catering biz and some information I need to share.  While in employ at a few places, I got to know what the FDA would like to see when the inspector comes.  Your post here has inspired me to write a brief forum post on it.  4°C (39.2°F) is a bit too close to 40°F, or the minimum the FDA requires to maintain food safety within time guidelines as well.  1.6°C (35°F) is the Goldilocks zone, provided the refrigerator isn't too crowded to prevent free flow of air (causing uneven spots, some freeze, some stay too warm).  I agree that 1°C is too cold.  As your refrigerator cycles, food can easily freeze or be uncomfortable to imbibe without a warm up first.  I mean, a glass of milk is fantastic at the right temperature, but too cold and you can't taste the sweetness and/or you'll get the pain of an "ice cream headache" (trigeminal headache or its given scientific name sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia).

  Anywho, off to write something I hope is as helpful as you are around here at TFL.