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Someone gave me a pint container of sourdough starter, but I have no clue how to take care of it. What do I need to do to make sure it stays

asked by James Durazzo over 3 years ago

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8 answers 4316 views
Sam1148
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 3 years ago

You'll use it a few times. And then like me forget to feed it..and then you'll toss it out.

Heck, I can't even keep a Chai pet alive.

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James Durazzo
added over 3 years ago

I've actually been wanting to make my own starter for a while, but now that I have one, I would really like some simple guide on how to feed it, and how to make sure it stays stable.

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Trena Heinrich
Trena Heinrich

Trena is a trusted source on general cooking.

added over 3 years ago

James - Here's a link to an informative article on making and maintaining a sourdough starter. Happy baking!
http://www.thekitchn.com...

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davidpdx
added over 3 years ago

King Arthur Flour has a useful set of instructions on maintaining the starter. http://www.kingarthurflour...

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Lindsay-Jean Hard
Lindsay-Jean Hard

Community Editor at Food52

added over 3 years ago

And just for good measure, here's our guide to maintaining a sourdough starter: https://food52.com/blog...

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hardlikearmour
hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

added over 3 years ago

Ken Forkish (of Ken's Artisan Bakery and author of the book Flour Water Salt Yeast) recommends feeding a refrigerated started monthly. He uses an 80% hydration and his formula is 200 grams starter brought to room temperature, plus 100 grams whole wheat flour, plus 400 grams white flour, plus 400 grams 95º F water. Mix together, let rest covered at room temperature overnight. Remove 300 grams of starter, coat with a thin film of water, and place in a non-perforated plastic bag and refrigerate.

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EmFraiche
added over 3 years ago

Looks like some good resources have already been posted. In my experience, starters can take more abuse than people give them credit for. Especially if you're storing it in the fridge.

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petitbleu
added over 3 years ago

I agree with EmFraiche. We moved our starter across the country a couple years ago in a cooler that didn't actually stay all that cold most of the time (didn't feed it along the way). Then, I've refrigerated or frozen it for lengthy periods. I've also just neglected to feed it from time to time. Recently, I went a week between feedings at room temp, and it's still fine. I would never make bread with starter that I had been neglecting (have to feed it for several days before it's ready to bake with), but you can definitely abuse it. One of the reasons it took me so long to get into sourdough baking was that most people overcomplicate the process.

When I'm not prepping to make bread, I actually just eyeball the amounts of flour and water. I pour off most of the starter, then add some AP flour and whole wheat flour (roughly equal amounts, probably about 3/4-1 cup total). Then I add enough cool water to get a stir-able mixture (it's not runny nor very thick, but you can stir it with a spoon).

I am more precise when gearing up to make bread (I use Tartine's method--it's a great book; taught me how to make awesome sourdough bread), but while you're researching the bread-baking process, the eyeball method works just fine.

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