The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

What is a seed starter?

Sean P's picture
Sean P

What is a seed starter?

I see this term but can't easily find it's meaning. It seems to mean some way of getting a starter going, like you have some starter already and then make another starter from it.

I saw this passage in a book: "Starters inoculated with a larger seed amount rise faster than starters with a smaller inoculation size.".

And this: "And a truly vigorous liquid starter might even triple in 6 hours or less. This is assuming a decent ambient temperature (74-78F/23-26C) and a relatively normal seed amount at feeding of around 20% of total starter, also known as a 1:2:2 refreshment -- 1-part starter, 2-parts water, 2-parts flour; all by weight.".Thanks

mariana's picture

Seed starter is an existing mature (ripe) starter that requires feeding. So, when you feed it, the existing starter is the seed and the feed is the freshly mixed dough that you add to it. The microbes will grow and multiply in the fresh dough as if from seeds, hence the term.

It also comes from the need to accumulate a large amount of starter for baking. Say all you have is 1tbsp of starter and you need a cup of starter for baking. You mix a cup of fresh dough and add 1tbsp of starter to it and let the microbes grow there until you have one cup+1Tbsp of ripe starter. You remove 1tbsp of starter from it to use as a seed for the future bakes and use the remaining one cup of ripe starter to prepare bread dough, or pancake dough ,etc.

This is no different from having only one melon but needing 100 melons. You use one melon (its seeds) to plant in a good soil to grow 100 new melons, each one full of seeds as well. Those melons can be consumed or used as seeds for the future melons. Fresh dough is like a good soil for the bacteria from the seed starter to multiply in it.