Sourdough Starter Tips?

Does anyone have any tips for maintaining a sourdough starter?

Looking for easy techniques and tricks to keeping one successfully. How/where do you store yours? Is it true that you shouldn't stir a starter with a metal spoon?

Marian Bull


HalfPint December 11, 2012
I recently made my own starter and from all that I've read in books and online, maintaining is not that hard. If you keep it in the fridge, you only have to feed it about once every 1-2 weeks. If you keep it on the counter, you'll have to feed it daily.

My feeding procedure is 1/2 c flour and 1/2 c water. Mix in and leave on the counter overnight and then back into the fridge. I barely use more than a cup of starter a week.

I hate waste and some instructions tell you to discard (or give away) half of the starter, which just doesn't sit right with me and I only have so many friends who bake. So I'll make pancakes or bread and then feed my starter, and proceed with a recipe. It's been 2 months and so far, so good.

I keep my starter in a quart-size mason jar with the 2-piece lid. Use a container that has a cover (or can be covered) with plenty of space for when you feed it. Other than the mess of the first couple of feedings when the yeast was still quite active and I was learning about my starter (it does seem to have a definite personality, so I call it "Ophelia"), maintenance has been uneventful. My starter sort of looks and smells like spackle (sp?) with a hint of beer. I'm told that this is normal.
I think success is making sure that it gets feed regularly.

I can't see why you couldn't stir it with a metal spoon, I use a butter knife. So I searched and found this,
Seems that the starter can get really acidic and might pit the metal. But there's no harm to the starter.
AntoniaJames December 11, 2012
Marian, if you'd like some of my wild yeast levain (made using apples nearly a year ago), please let me know. I shall be happy to send you some. I used the method in William Alexander's readable, down-to-earth and pleasantly uncomplicated book, "52 Loaves." ;o)
AntoniaJames December 11, 2012
I keep mine in the fridge in a large square plastic box. I feed it the evening before I make bread (or at least every week if I'm not using it that frequently) with 125 grams each of water + flour, as my hydration ratio is 100%. After feeding, I stir it well with a big sturdy OXO spatula -- have never heard any admonitions against using metal -- to incorporate all the fresh ingredients. Then I let it sit out on the counter for at least 2 or 3 hours, before putting it back in the fridge. It often sits out for much longer. Then on baking day, I let it come to room temperature before taking what I need for the bread I'm about to make. About every two weeks, I remove the starter carefully from the box and put it in a bowl, being careful not to scrape down the sides. Then I thoroughly wash and dry the box, return the starter to it, and put it back in the fridge. I keep it in the back, on the bottom shelf. That happens to be the coldest open space in the fridge, but I put it there because it also happens to be the most convenient. ;o)
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