Feeding Your Sourdough Starter

Next week, I’m going to share with you my favorite sourdough pizza recipe. Dough, sauce, toppings and all! It is good. For the particular recipe I’m going to use, a “fed” starter is required, so I wanted to go over how one would go about feeding sourdough starter. It’s pretty easy!

What is a fed starter? A fed starter has simply been “refreshed” by feeding and allowing to rise. You want to catch it when it has just about doubled, but has not fallen yet and isn’t showing signs of distress (such as hooch, an alcoholic liquid that may rise to the top or be in the middle).

What’s next? Now that you know what a fed starter is, let’s go over how to feed your starter. I typically feed it just enough to have what I need for the recipe I’m going to use, without much extra to spare. I am not a fan of waste, so I typically don’t throw any starter out. If it’s really in need of being thrown out, I will use it to make pancakes or pizza (this pizza is typically a flatter crust, though).

I usually have maybe a tbsp of starter left in my jar, whatever is coating it. Then I’ll add 200 grams of water, mix until milky, and add 200 grams of flour. I’ve kept my starter using other methods before, including 1 cup water to 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup water to 1 cup flour, and 2/3 cup water to 1 cup flour. They all work, and when making a recipe it’s often necessary to adjust based on how you kept your starter. I like to keep my starter on the thicker side because I find it rises a little slower and that’s actually an advantage in my hot house! I don’t want to have to feed it all the time. Anyway, mix the flour in and set to rise. If you are not about to use it, go ahead and stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to!

If you had a good amount of starter, say 1 cup, in your jar, you will either want to use it to make something, throw it away, or use a bigger jar if needed and add at least an additional cup of flour. The more starter is in the jar, the quicker things will happen and therefore it can use up the food more quickly.

To recap, you basically just add the water and mix, then add the flour. It is hard to mess up and sourdough is also very forgiving. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Sourdough Saturdays Series:
Where To Get A FREE Sourdough Starter
What’s All The Craze With Sourdough?
Feeding Your Sourdough Starter

What’s All The Craze With Sourdough?

Sourdough is getting quite a bit of attention these days, isn’t it? If you’ve never heard of it before, you’re probably wondering why. Well, there are multiple reasons, and I’m going to clue you in on a few of them. But, first of all…what IS sourdough?

Sourdough is literally sour dough–eons ago, our ancestors who had limitless knowledge in making all things healthier, found that they could mix up some flour and water and let it sit. They would feed it regularly with more flour and water and eventually it became a neighborhood for beneficial bacteria and yeasts. These bacteria and yeasts caused the dough to get sour and also made it to rise to double or more its original size.

They undoubtedly found that using this, they could make leavened bread. And then by adding some milk and eggs they could make hot cakes, also known as pancakes. As people do when they’ve just discovered the greatest thing since fire, they find multiple ways to use it. They developed tasty cakes, muffins, biscuits, dumplings, and specialty types of breads like challah and baguettes. Mmm, baguettes are so yummy!

Since I began my real food journey, I’ve learned that many things our ancestors did had a purpose. So the discovery of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, otherwise known as Baker’s yeast, was definitely not to our benefit. Sure, it can save us in precious time… but is it worth it when compared to the things we’ve lost through natural fermentation? I think not!

Sourdough, or the natural fermentation of flour, is gaining in popularity because we’ve discovered it is actually beneficial to our health. The process of soaking flour with these beneficial bacteria and yeasts breaks down difficult to digest proteins like gluten. It reduces the sugar (starch) content so that we aren’t plagued with blood sugar issues and bloating. Oh yeah, bloating, my friend from the past… you want things to ferment OUTSIDE of you, otherwise they will ferment INSIDE of you! It also reduces toxins that may be in the flour such as mold and heavy metals. It significantly decreases phytic acid, which blocks mineral absorption and leads to ill-health. One of the greatest things about sourdough is it actually INCREASES nutrients in the dough, as yeast is amazing at creating B vitamins especially. The tanginess of the resulting bread helps to stimulate digestive acids too, which is important for digesting food. Last but not least, it makes bread taste good. I mean, really good!

Don’t have a sourdough starter yet? Don’t worry, you can get a free sourdough starter and get ready to make some tasty food!

Sourdough Saturdays Series:
Where To Get A FREE Sourdough Starter
What’s All The Craze With Sourdough?
Feeding Your Sourdough Starter

Where To Get A FREE Sourdough Starter

Sourdough crackers Sourdough Pancakes Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls Sourdough Pretzels

There are many wonderful things that you can make with a sourdough! And best of all, you can get a free sourdough starter!

You do, of course, need a sourdough starter. You can make your own, buy one, or get a free sourdough starter here. That is actually where I got my starter from since I prefer using an established starter. This starter has been around for several hundred years–it’s lactobacilli and yeasts are well-developed. It rises quickly, and effectively makes flour healthier!

The wonderful folks over at CarlsFriends will send you a dried starter once they receive your SASE (please send a tip if you can afford to!). Once you receive it, mix with 1/4 cup (~40g) of warm water and mix until the water is cloudy. You don’t want the water too hot–the goal is to “wake up” the starter cultures and hot water will kill them. Then add 1/4 cup (~40g) of flour. I maintain my starter on unbleached white flour, but others use whole wheat, spelt, etc. I’ve found that my starter remains healthiest on white flour, and then when I’m baking I can choose which flour to use. I love to bake with bread flour, spelt flour, and Einkorn flour.

While you wait for your free sourdough starter to arrive, learn more about sourdough by clicking the following links:

What’s All The Craze With Sourdough?
Feeding Your Sourdough Starter