Sourdough help - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 02-08-2005, 10:41 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a starter but I need a little help. How often do you feed your starter? How much do you remove when you feed it? What do you do with what you remove? What do you store your starter in? Where do you store your starter?

Instructions from turning it into bread from starter.


OH yah, about how much starter do you have going at a time? How much do you keep out when making bread and how long before you can make bread again?
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#2 of 4 Old 02-09-2005, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
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#3 of 4 Old 02-09-2005, 04:12 PM
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caveat: i still haven't started a starter. I am still doing research and baking a lot of commercial-yeast (as opposed to wild yeast) bread. I am very happy with the book The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart, but haven't made any of the sourdoughs in it.

My understanding is that you take out a certain amount of the starter and add flour and water and other ingredients to make the bread, and then feed back into the starter the amount you took out. Some instructions say that if you aren't baking, you take out a certain amount and discard it and then feed fresh flour and water, while other instructions don't have you discard any (until the starter takes over the WORLD ha ha ha .)

A good source of information on feeding sourdough is this book:

here's a link that might answer your question (or might not, please say if it works for you!)

I want to hear about how this goes for you, as I want to follow you into sourdough-land!

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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#4 of 4 Old 02-09-2005, 04:52 PM
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Feed the starter every time you use it. When you take some out, just put some flour and water back in, or you can feed it some dough or batter from the recipe you are making. If you haven't used it for a few days, just stir in a little flour. You don't have to remove any, unless you have too much and it's bubbling over. It can be composted.

If you have an earthenware crock, use that to store it. It should be kept covered with a lid or cloth (not airtight though). The next best thing would be a glass jar (wide mouth) or bowl. It can be kept on the counter if you use it every few days. If you're not using it that often, store it in the fridge. If you won't be using it for a couple weeks, it can be frozen, though I've never done this.

It can be used different ways, but here's my method for bread: The day or night before baking, feed the starter so that you will have enough for a couple of cups plus a little left over. The next day, take a couple cups of starter and combine with the flour, water, sweetener, and additional yeast (if using) from your bread recipe. This is your sponge. It should sit for at least an hour, but can be left for a day or so, depending on your preference. Fold in salt, oil, and knead in remaining flour, then let it rise again once or twice. Shape into loaves, and bake when risen. For quick breads like pancakes or waffles, I don't usually leave them to rise. I just add some baking powder. You will still get the nice flavor and nutritional benefits of the starter.

I usually have about 2-3 cups of starter going. If I need more for a big batch of bread, I will just feed it a day in advance. I usually try to leave about half a cup to get more going, so once I have taken from it, I stir in 1-2 c. fresh flour and enough water to make a thin batter. Sometimes I add a little honey or maple syrup. You can use it as soon as the next day. There are no hard and fast rules really, just feed it here and there, and use it often- I've heard it said that the more you use your starter, the better it gets.
Hope this helps.
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