Sourdough Starter Next Steps
You received your brand new sourdough starter kit – now what? Our hope is that with this starter kit, that you will bake this bread, share within your community group, and have rich conversations around your table. This is a great opportunity to consider others that you would like invite to your table or community group as well!
Today, when you take it home, you may fall into one of these categories:
- I want to feed my starter and start baking with it!
- I want to start splitting my sourdough starter to share with my group, so they can have a starter too!
- I’m not ready for either of those steps, I want to feed my starter and then put it in the fridge!
All of these are great options! See below for instructions to each one!
Feeding Your Starter
This option is best if you plan to use your starter frequently. Keeping it on your countertop means it will be ready for use more quickly.
- Stir the starter well and discard all but 1/2 cup (4 ounces, 113g).
- Add about 1/2 cup room-temperature water and a scant 1/2 cup unbleached flour to the 1/2 cup of starter. (The rule of thumb here is a 1-1-1 ratio for however much starter you hope to maintain.)
- Mix until smooth, and cover.
- There should be a combination of large and small bubbles, plus uneven, somewhat “mounded” surface; this starter is ready to use.
- Your starter will bubble and grow until it’s doubled (or more) in size…
- With its flat surface and a plethora of small, foam-like bubbles, this starter is past its peak and needs to be fed again before using it in a recipe.
- …then will gradually sink as it awaits its next feeding. Repeat this feeding process every 12 hours.
The colder the environment, the more slowly your starter will grow. If the normal temperature in your home is below 68°F, we suggest finding a smaller, warmer spot to develop your starter.
A great option is to place your starter in a cold oven with just the oven light on. Over time, the light will raise the oven’s temperature to 90°F. Since you don’t want it quite that hot, turn the light off after an hour or so —however long it takes to reach 70°F — then turn it back on again if necessary.
Once your starter has risen, it is ready for baking use!
Splitting Your Starter
Without discarding any of your starter, measure out how much you have. Once you have determined the amount of starter you have, feed it with water and flour on a 1-1-1 ratio. From there, split the new mixture into new jars to be shared. A good amount to distribute is around a ½ cup.
Maintaining Your Sourdough Starter
For most home bakers, daily feeding is impractical; so you’ll need to store your starter in the refrigerator and feed it once a week. Take the starter out of the fridge. If you’re feeding it weekly, it will probably appear a bit frothy. There may be a bit of light amber or clear liquid on top. Either drain this off or stir it in, your choice; it’s alcohol from the fermenting yeast. Remove all but 4 ounces (113g) starter. Use this “discard” to make pancakes, waffles, cake, pizza, flatbread, or another treat.
Or, simply give to a friend so they can create their own starter.
Add 4 ounces (113g) room-temperature water and 4 ounces (113g) flour to the remaining starter. Mix until smooth, and cover.
Allow the starter to rest at room temperature (preferably about 70°F) for 2 to 4 hours, until it shows signs of life; this gives the yeast a chance to warm up and get feeding. Once it’s started to bubble, refrigerate it.
No-Knead Sourdough Sandwich Bread
- 1/3 cup (65 grams) sourdough starter, bubbly and active (fed within 12-24 hours)
- 1⅓ cups (300 grams) warm water, filtered (95º to 100º F)
- 1/4 cup (56 grams) granulated sugar
- 3½ -4 cups (500 grams) bread flour
- 1½ tablespoons (20 grams) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons (9 grams) sea salt
- Add the starter to a large bowl. Mix in warm water and sugar, stirring until dissolved. Add bread flour, oil, and salt. Stir with a dough whisk or wooden spoon until a thick, shaggy dough forms.
- Flour your hands, and finish mixing dough by hand until most of the flour has been absorbed. Don’t worry if there is flour on the sides or bottom of the bowl. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let the dough rest for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Coax the dough from the bowl and stretch and fold the dough by stretching 4 inches then pushing it down the middle and turning 1/4 until you make a circle. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise at room temperature overnight (at least 8-10 hours) until it doubles in size.
- In the morning, lightly flour your countertop. Remove the dough from the bowl, gently stretch it into a rectangle, then your fingers to dimple the rough to release the air from the dough. Roll up dough into a log shape. Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Spray bread pan with cooking spray. Tighten the dough log by gently pulling it towards you along the countertop for 5-8″. Place it in your loaf pan, seam side down. Cover and let rise for 1-2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size. Press the corner edge of the dough in 1/2″ and if the indentation remains, it’s ready to bake.
- Preheat your oven to 375º. Bake in the center of the oven for 40 minutes. The top of the loaf should be golden in color. After 10 minutes, tilt the pan to remove the bread to cool on a cooling rack. Wait at least 1 hour before cutting (to prevent the loaf from deflating).
Recipe Credit: The Feathered Nester
Artisan Sourdough Loaf
Feed your starter Instructions:
- Remove 1/2 cup starter from the jar, mix with 1/2 cup room temp water, then add 1 cup bread flour.
**The starter left in the jar can be discarded or used in a discard recipe.
- Fork out 1/3 cup of starter into a separate bowl. Cover with a dry towel and let rise for 4-8 hours.
**The remaining ⅔ in your bowl can be split in half, one half to make another recipe, and one half to return to a clean jar and maintain as your starter for future use.
Make dough Instructions:
In a large bowl:
- 4 cups flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp spice if desired (ex. rosemary)
In a small bowl:
- 1/3 cup sourdough starter (from what you let rise overnight)
- 1 7/8 cup room temp water
Mix the two until it’s milky white & mostly .
- Pour the starter-water into flour incorporating all the flour using a fork or wood spoon. It should be a thick, shaggy, heavy, sticky dough.
- Mix for about 1-2 minutes using the wood spoon– it will be hard to mix. Don’t worry about tidy dough here, just get the flour all mixed in. I often end up using my hands, but dip with water prior. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest for about 15 minutes. It will loosen up as it rests.
- Do 2-3 stretch & folds. Cover for another 15 mins. Then do another 2-3 stretch & folds.
**Stretch & fold means lifting one side of the dough up over itself, rotating 90 degrees, repeating, rotating 90 degrees, repeating, until you’ve made a full circle. This is ONE stretch & fold.
- Then reapply the damp towel over your bowl & leave it for 12 or so hours.
After 12 hours:
- Two stretch & folds 15 minutes apart.
- After the 2nd stretch & fold, place your dough in a bowl with parchment paper.
- Then place the dough that you just placed in a bowl in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1hr (can leave it overnight for a long-fermented dough).
Preheat the oven to 475 with the Dutch oven in the oven during the heating process. Let it warm up for 1hr while your dough is in the fridge.
- Remove dough from the refrigerator.
- Sprinkle a thin layer of flour on the top of your dough.
- Score the top of the bread with a sharp knife or sourdough scoring knife work.
- Place it in the Dutch oven (loaf and parchment paper)! LID ON & timer set for 22 minutes
- After 22 minute timer goes off, remove the lid
- Set another timer for 12 minutes
- After your 12 minute timer goes off, remove your bread and place on a cooling rack.
Note: Do not cut into when hot!
Recipe Credit: Kate Visbeen