Sourdough Starter maintenance
Sourdough starter Maintenance
Sourdough starter is basically just natural wild yeast.
I find it helps to think of it as a really low maintenance (but greedy!) pet, which likes to be fed more than it's own body weight of flour and water on a regular basis.
Ideally your starter should be thick, gloopy, bubbly and smelling yoghurty, or of old bananas.
If it doesn’t get enough attention it goes thin, grey and watery and smells strongly of vinegar. If this happens, just chuck out all but a tablespoon of it, and mix in 100g fresh water and 100g bread flour and leave it in the fridge for 24 hours to come back to life, and then feed it every day for a couple of days until it is lively and bubbling again.
Keep your Starter in a lidded container in the fridge which has room for it to grow.
Once a week (minimum) you need to ‘feed’ it by removing most of the starter (this is your ‘throwaway’ or ‘trash’ starter – see Sourdough Trash Recipes for ways to use it) – leaving just about a tablespoon or two in the pot. Then add 100g fresh bread flour and a 100g fresh water and mix it well. (if you're just keeping it alive and not wanting to create enough starter to bake with, just add a tablespoon or two of water and flour each week to maintain the starter.
If you’re baking a lot, you may need to feed it more often or with larger amounts of flour and water to maintain the amount of starter you need. You don’t need to keep it in the fridge if you’re using it several times a week – fermentation speeds up the warmer it is. To keep it really active, always feed it more than it’s own volume. And if you need lots for a big baking session you can feed it every day and not throw any away to build up the quantity.