Thursday, May 15, 2014

How do I Maintain Sourdough Starter / Once a Week Baking with Sourdough Starter / Baking Schedule

If you are here then you have a new/active sourdough starter that is just about ready to use to bake bread or you have one that you are already actively using to bake bread. You need some help in getting the process into a schedule that fits your families needs. You have come to the right place.

If you do not have a starter yet then you should get one started. All it takes is flour, water and time. I used the book Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish to get me started. I now have an active starter that I keep in the refrigerator and revive every week.

It was when I started to maintain the starter that I realized I needed a schedule to ensure I had an active and bubbling starter when I was ready to bake. While there is a lot of information available on how to schedule a baking cycle and proportion of the flour/water for the feed there is very little on how to customize this for your needs.

The quantity of the feed directly impacts the amount of discarded or spent starter. A very small quantity is needed to keep the starter going, the rest is discarded. While you could find recipes for discarded and spent starter a better idea would be to work the quantities of the feed to ensure you never got too much discard.

I am a weekly baker who refrigerates and refreshes the starter every week. I revive the starter on Saturday morning and mix the dough on Saturday afternoon/evening. I return the starter to the refrigerator when I mix the dough. I bake on Sunday.

NOTE: ALL QUANTITIES ARE BY WEIGHT. THIS WOULD NOT WORK AS WRITTEN IF YOU WERE TO MEASURE BY VOLUME.

My schedule is as follows

Saturday first things in the morning
I take out all 50 gm of my starter from the refrigerator and place it on the counter top for 30 minutes.


I transfer it to a mixing bowl.


Feed it with equal parts of flour and water, usually 50 gm or 75 gm each, giving me 100 gm or 150 gm for use in my recipes. If I need close to 300 gm then I repeat this process two times.


Covered with a plate, it rests on the counter top for the next 4-8 hours depending upon the weather. When it starts to bubble is ready to be used.


Saturday afternoon/evening
I leave 50 gm of starter in the mixing bowl and take out the rest.


I use the rest to mix the dough as needed.


I put the 50 gm of leftover starter back in the mason jar and refrigerate it until the following Saturday morning.


Sunday/Monday
I bake bread or pizza from dough that has fermented overnight.

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