A Well Fed Sourdough Starter Makes a Happy Pet

sourdough and brie

Feeding your starter is simply replacing what you take out. For example, if you use ½ cup of starter for a recipe, you would stir in approximately ¼ cup of flour and a little less than ¼ cup of water. The exact amounts are not critical, the idea is to maintain about the same amount of starter all the time by replacing what you’ve used with fresh flour and water.

Guidelines for Caring for the Sourdough Mother Sponge

• The container that holds the mother sponge should have plenty of headspace for fermentation activity, about three times the volume of the sponge.

• The mother sponge will become sourer when held at room temperature and fed often, once or twice a day. If you’re not satisfied with the amount of sourness you get with your sourdough bread, increase the daily feeding schedule or use the sourdough flavor enhancer included in the deluxe kit. You can then go back to a less rigorous feeding schedule.

• The mother sponge can be held in the refrigerator. When the sponge is stored in the refrigerator, it is dormant or ‘on hold’. The sour flavor does not increase when stored in this way. It may also separate during prolonged storage but this is normal. The liquid on top, which may be clear to grayish in color, is alcohol and is a by-product of the yeast’s fermentation activity. It will evaporate during the baking process. If there is liquid on top, pour it off before feeding. American prospectors called this liquid ‘hooch’ after the Alaskan Hoochinoo Indians who used a sourdough method to make liquor. They developed many uses for their sourdough including drinking the hooch (for the alcoholic content not the taste). There are many other stories of using starter as glue or a polish for brass.

• Even when stored in the refrigerator, the mother sponge needs to be fed at least once per week. Discard half of the total volume and replace with equal amounts of flour and water. Note: There are no scientific laws to the sourdough process. If the texture is off, add flour to make it thicker, or water to thin it out. If it has been 24 hours, and there is no bubbling, or your starter is lacking a sour smell, give it more time. The weather, air quality or other environmental variances will affect the process. After four days if the sponge still looks inactive, it is time to discard it.

• When you purchase flour it should be bread or high-protein flour. All-purpose can be used, but it is not recommended.

Bakers requires an assortment of bread baking ingredients.

Sourdough

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