Maintaining Your Starter
So you’ve got yourself a sourdough starter, yay!
It’s bubbly and active…. what now?
Where should we keep our starter?
If you bake regularly then it is a good idea to keep your starter at room temperature. It is therefore always ready to bake with. However, this does require more frequent (often daily) ‘feedings’.
If you bake less often, then your starter can be kept in the fridge and ‘fed’ once a week.
Lid or no lid…?
When storing your starter at room temperature, We recommend covering your jar with a muslin cloth and securing with an elastic band. This ensures the natural gas created can be released, and also allows the starter to continue to absorb natural yeasts from the environment it is in.
When storing your starter in the fridge, we recommend sealing with a lid. Due to a slower rate of fermentation, there is no danger of gas build-up, and also protects your starter from absorbing any flavours or odour from the food in the fridge.
Keeping your starter clean and safe
After using or feeding your starter, try to ensure that the jar is as clean as possible.
Do this by scraping down any flour or starter residue and wiping the rim with some paper towl or a clean cloth.
If there is a build-up of dried starter around your jar, then clean in warm water.
It is a good idea to check your PH levels on a regular basis to ensure that your starter is fit for consumption.
Feeding your starter
In order to keep your starter strong and healthy it will need regular ‘feedings’ whereby we refresh the starter with more flour and water. In doing this, we need to remove some of the starter (we call this discard, and it can be used in a number of recipes).
How much should we feed it?
As a good rule of thumb, we like to suggest feeding your starter in a 1:1:1 ratio.
For example, if you have approximately 100g of starter, discard 50g and feed with 50g of flour and 50g of water.
If you did this at every feeding, you would always have approximately the same amount of starter. If you needed more starter for a recipe or want to bake a lot, then you can simply feed your starter without discarding any!
Always try to keep the amount of flour and water you feed with at equal weights. This keeps your starter at a similar consistency. The consistency is given a percentage hydration. A 1:1:1 ratio would be 100% hydration.
What if you miss a feeding?
Sourdough starters are quite hardy, and although a regular feeding schedule is beneficial for both you and your starter, it will most definitely survive if you forget to feed it every now and then.
If you do let your starter get very hungry it can produce a layer of liquid on the surface. This is called ‘hooch’. This is nothing to worry about, simply stir it in, or pour it off if you prefer.