Sourdough has a moment – during thepandemic, while practicing
Creating a sourdough starter is not a complicated process – you just mix flour and water together and wait – but what is it then? It's time to start the feeding and maintenance process. There are some tips and tricks that will help you maintain a long and healthy relationship with your starter.
Feeding sourdough starter
There are many thought courses on how and what to feed your starter motor. The truth is that there is no "wrong" answer, and it is purely a matter of preference. Starters are fed with a ratio of the original yeast to water and flour.
I hold what is considered a thick starter. It is a forgiving and robust fermentation (her name is Rose) that has a medium to strong acidity. The ratio for the mine is 1: 2: 3, which means one part starter, two parts water and three parts flour, in volume. I use the room temperature starter, just some warm filtered water (tap water) and unbleached, flour for all purposes.
For a typical feeding, I mix 100 grams of starter, 200 grams of water and 300 grams of flour. I let the fermentation sit at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours (or until it has tripled in volume) before I start working. If I'm not going to bake until the next day or after, I'll let her sit out for 3 to 4 hours and then cool. When I'm ready to swing, I take her out and let her come to room temperature again (about an hour) before I bake.
Another popular ratio is 1: 1: 1, which means that if you start with 100 grams of starter, you add 100 grams of water and 100 grams of flour. This creates a thinner fermentation (more like pancake bark), but it is also quite versatile and easy to convert to other flour types if you like.
If your starter is healthy, you should notice that it is bubbly and fragrant and should double / triple in volume after a few hours.
Can you feed sourdough starter with other flour types?
As I mentioned, I use unbleached flour for all purposes, but you can use whatever you prefer. Hell, barley, barley, spelling, rye, even rice flour all work well and create distinct flavor profiles that will be transferred to your bread or other baked goods.
Avoid buckwheat because it is not actually a grain, but rather a seed it is related to rhubarb. There are ways to make a gluten-free buckwheat starter that involves a more complicated fermentation process, but adding the raw will not work for your starter.
Having trouble finding flour in stores (online and online) right now? It may be worth reaching out to a local bakery.
A special note about rye
Rye flour is a (not so) secret weapon for sourdough bakers! If your starter takes a long time to double, you may be missing some of the microbial strength it needs to do its job in your baking. I regularly replace about 10% of my AP flour when I feed rye flour. I think it overlaps my appetizer and gives a sweet and nutty flavor.
What if you forget to feed your starter?
The general rule is to not allow your start to go beyond two weeks without being fed, but we all know that it happens.
If you come across a starter that you have ignored a little too long, you might not be lucky. Check the starter carefully: If there is any mold or fuzz growing on it, throw it out. If it has been sitting shut for a while, you will probably see some grayish liquid on top. This is called "hooch," a naturally occurring alcohol that is part of the sourdough fermentation process. Pour off and discard the liquid. Feed the desired amount of remaining starter and feed it more often than usual the next few days (every 6 to 12 hours) to revive your old friend. Keep in mind that the volume is tripled each time, so you don't have to start with a large amount of fermentation.
For example, if you use a 1: 1: 1 ratio for your feed and you feed 20 grams of starter, you have 60 grams after the first feed, 180 after the second, 360 after the third, and so on. So don't despair if you start with a small amount. With a few feeds, your starter will be back in action: bubbling, excited and ready for your next baking adventure.
How to use sourdough starter
There are almost endless variations on sourdough bread, but your sourdough starter is also good for many other baking projects! Here are just a handful to get you started:
Extra tangy sourdough bread
This classic loaf has a soft tang for those who want to taste a little sour in their sourdough bread. Get the extra tangy sourdough bread recipe.
Sour starter makes these pancakes fluffy and light – they will be a family favorite! Get the sourdough pancake recipe.
Sourdough skillet pizza
This thick and crispy pizza crust requires the use of sourdough starter in a fermentation, giving volume and distinct flavor to this light, delicious pizza baked in a frying pan. Get sourdough bread pizza recipe.