Sourdough Maintenance

My perspective is likely skewed as baking bread is probably my favorite thing to do in life, as I find it immensely soothing to sink my hands in the dough, heartwarming as it bakes and fills the house with the most wonderful aroma, and gratifying when I sink my teeth into it.

Which brings me back to my point, sourdough maintenance. I know that most people consider it too much work to maintain a starter, and dislike feeding and discarding.

I don’t “feed and discard”. I keep anywhere between 10 and 25 grams of sourdough culture in my fridge at all times. That’s less than a tablespoonful.

The majority of the breads I make I use 50 grams of sourdough starter. Let’s say I have 15 grams of starter in the fridge. Basically, if I feed my existing starter 25 grams each of water and flour, I will have roughly 65 grams of starter, (50 from the additions added to the original 15) 50 to use and 15 to put back. I usually round up a bit, because I have shorted myself and only had as little as 5 grams of culture to put back in the jar.

I have successfully fed my start from little more than the jar scrapings! Not really recommended 🙂

If I’m making something that calls for an entire cup of sourdough starter, which is 227grams, I will still simply feed up my 15-25 grams of stored starter, all in one feeding. 227 divided by 2 is 113.5 grams each of flour and water, and I would probably round that up to about 118 grams each.

There is no discard. Giving the small amount of starter such a large amount of food to feed on makes for a very happy and healthy culture.

The only time I would ever feed and discard would be if I had neglected my starter for a month or more. I typically bake with mine at least once a week. It is always active enough for me to simply feed and bake.

If I let it go for more than a week, waffles to the rescue! They don’t require an active culture, sourdough discard will do, as my recipe uses buttermilk and baking soda for the rise.

I had sourdough blueberry waffles this morning for breakfast! They are so darn delicious!

Some years back I converted my sourdough culture to 100% rye, which I mill myself. Rye culture can be a little tricky if you’re new to working with sourdough, as it’s very thick and pasty and doesn’t get bubbly with a lot of volume like culture made with white flour, so it can be difficult to judge when it’s ready until you’ve worked with it for a while.

But in my opinion, it has much more oven spring, and a much better flavor profile.

CJ Tinkle

Your feedback is always welcome! If you have a question, I will respond to it here.