Feeding your sourdough starter doesn’t have to be a complicated, brain bending task. This easy starter guide will help you understand how to feed your sourdough starter in a simple way so you can make tons of sourdough recipes!
culture of the California and Alaska Gold Rushes. Starters can be kept alive for years, and were often passed down through families. The older they are, the more personality it will get – becoming more unique and tangy, and bread made from different starters will taste differently because of this.
How do you feed it? 50% Hydration, 100% hydration, 87% hydration? It is ridiculous. When my friend Grace gave the starter to me she told me to just google it, but I eventually had to call her begging for her help, because Whoa, it’s crazy out there.
How to Feed A Sourdough Starter
- I keep my starter in the fridge, covered.
- Once a week (on Saturday, it just so happens), I take my starter out of the fridge at let it sit on the counter for a bit to warm up.
- Then I get out my scale and weigh it, and the put it back in its container. Lets pretend the starter weighs 200 grams.
- I get a bowl out and into I measure 100 grams of flour and 100 grams of water.
- Mix this up and add it to your starter, mixing it well. This is called a 100% hydration because you are essentially doubling your starter.
- Loosely cover your starter back up and let it sit for a few hours on the counter.
- Then I remove a half (the part you remove is called your “discard”. You can either bake something with this or give it to a friend, or sadly, throw it in the trash if you don’t have time to bake with it), place your remaining starter back in the container and place it in the fridge again.
- Now you are done for the week!
Sourdough Starter Storage Container
How you store your sourdough starter depends on what you like best. The most important part is that your container is at least twice the size of your sourdough starter. You need room for it to grow and expand, and you need room for the sourdough stater to have access to air.
- A glass mason jar. This is my favorite option because it is easy to clean, you can see what is going on inside, and you can control how tightly the lid is on.
- A food storage container with lid. This can be plastic or glass, just make sure it is big enough, and that you remember to crack the lid when the sourdough starter is doubling so that the pressure doesn’t explode it. I don’t like these options as well because they are often wide and squat instead of a taller glass jar, so its harder to tell when your starter has doubled in size.
- Stoneware crock. These are great because this is what sourdough was originally kept in. This is also a great option because its obvious to tell it apart from the other jars and containers in your fridge. They are also made from sturdy non-reactive material.
No matter which type of container you choose, its important to make sure you keep your container clean. Over time, your container will form crusty bits of dried flour and starter at the top. Its totally normal and fine, just make sure you take your starter out and clean the container.
*Important Note: Make sure your container is clean and free of soup, and also back to room temperature before you put your starter back in.
What if I want to bake with my sourdough starter often?
If you would like to bake with your sourdough starter more often, you may leave your starter on your counter, loosely covered. Make sure to feed it every 12-24 hours.
If you want to bake with your refrigerated starter mid-week, simply pull out 1/2 cup to 1 cup of your starter a few hours before you plan to bake with it. Loosely cover it and let it “wake up” on your counter. As it sits, it will rise a bit (ok, it will probably double, at least that is what mine tends to do), so make sure you place it in a container that is big enough or you will have starter oozing across your counter.
What if I left my sourdough starter out too long?
The good thing about sourdough starters is they are pretty resilient. Just feed it again!