The starter is the basis for all sourdough baking, and that is why it has its own category. We need to understand what is important about it, and what we can do to make sure the starter has a good life 🤩 Check our for some starting terminology.
Why do we “feed” the starter
The starter is an active organism. We want our starter healthy on a regular basis, and we want our starter active at the time of baking a nice sourdough bread! So when we are baking we take our saved starter and make a levain. If our starter is healthy, we can turn it active for baking quite quickly. If it is not fed for a while, more than 2 weeks, it can become unhealthy, meaning it will not become active as quick as it should and will not work as actively as it should on the bread you are making. So normally we want a healthy starter, and an active starter when we want to bake a bread.
How to keep the starter healthy
A rule of thumb is that we want to feed our starter once a week, and keep it in the fridge with a lid on. This way we can make sure the starter stays healthy, and we can activate the starter to 💯, before we want to bake.
If you forget to feed the starter for a week or two, or even months. The starter usually does not die, but it becomes unhealthy. It is really difficult to kill the starter, unhealthy yes, but to kill it, is very difficult. See for tips how to handle it.
If you bake once a week or every other week, you are feeding the starter when you are making your levain. So a tip can be to just use some left overs from that levain to save. No need to have a seperate starter which you scoop out of. Just , feed it, use it, feed it, use it
How do I feed the starter
Feeding we do either to keep our starter healthy or before we want to bake somethig, setting the levain that is. So refer to this section whenever you feel like baking of feeding.
People can give you numbers on what is the perfect match. If you want those, just google around. I will give you a simple way that does not demand too much effort and thought work.
One tip, if your glass is not too big, it is smart to get rid of some starter so it is room for it to grow. Head over to for some tips and tricks to what you can do.
With room in the glass and a bit left in the bottom, I usually just add everything from 2-4 spoons of flour, then add 30°C water and mix till you get the right consistency. For temperature effects, see for some more explanation. The consistency shall not be too dry and not too wet. The consistency can have different effects, so experiment with what consistency you like. I used to like a place right before waffle mix, but have gone a bit dryer now, to have even better fried batter as show in . But I have made two videos here so you can see what works.
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The mix shall be standing open in room temperature for up to 12 hours. Time will vary, dependent on factor. You don’t need to do 30°C water, you can do cold water and room temperature as well. But it just will take longer time until the starter/levain will hit it’s peak. And it is that peak we want to strive for, because then it is most active!
It can be smart to mark where the solution is, so you know how much it has grown, just like the picture below. Because we want to make sure it at least doubles in size. Like on the right side picture, you can see it has rissen and even gone a bit down. It can be worth checkin to make sure your dough is ready to do the trick. So I missed peak activity point, but it is still nice to bake with or use some of the tips and tricks in
The first picture here is with a bit drier consistency, ref the second video, so it can be worth trying it out. You can also see that I use a rubber band to mark where the starter started.
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