“What’s your daily sourdough routine so that you don’t have too much or too little starter for all your family’s baking, so that you’re not baking every day, and so it’s not overwhelming?” Sarah M. asks on today’s #AskWardee. I’m sharing my answer below!
From Sarah M.:
“Hello! I have a question about sourdough. I’ve been interested in maintaining a sourdough culture. I’ve started twice and don’t keep it up. I feel overwhelmed by the thought of having to feed it daily. On top of that, to feed it daily and not use up any. And conversely, to feed it daily and then be forced to make bread products all the time. I’m hoping you could give a real-world example of how you work sourdough products into your menu planning in a way that your family isn’t eating bread for every meal, and yet is able to have plenty of bread products for your weekly menu plan. So an example weekly/monthly menu plan where you’re being a practical steward of your sourdough habit. 😉 Thank you for all the work you and your team do! The site is one of the first websites I check each day.”
Wow! I love hearing that, Sarah M.! Thank you! My answer is below.
By the way, I’m focusing on the routine of an established sourdough starter here. If you want help making your sourdough starter, be sure to grab my easy, free instructions here.
1. My Goals
I have developed a routine for caring for my sourdough starter so that…
- I never have too much starter…
- …but I always have enough starter, too.
- My starter is always active and healthy.
- I don’t waste flour.
- I always have options.
- And, I don’t bake with it every day!
When I go out of town, I store my starter in the fridge for a week or so. Otherwise, I leave it out at room temperature on the counter all the time and care for it with twice daily feedings.
It’s possible for it not to be overwhelming or waste or bake everyday… it’s in how you feed it.
And the key to that is…
2. Maintenance Feeding
Only feed it what you need to build it up for when you need it. If you are going to bake something that requires a bit more, feed it a bit more on that occasion.
This way, you’ll nearly always have enough, and usually not ever too much. (Of course, adjustment is needed to account for your family’s baking goals.)
What is a maintenance amount? A tablespoon or 2.
How often? Every morning and evening (regular feedings are essential for the starter’s health and activity).
If you’re keeping a cup or less of starter, a maintenance feeding is all that’s needed!
3. So…My Routine?
Take this with a grain of salt and adapt to your family’s needs!
Every morning: I feed my starter 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour, plus some water (a bit less than the flour). Same thing each evening.
Every 2nd or 3rd day, I have enough starter to bake our favorite bread — the no-knead artisan einkorn loaf. (It’s inside the Einkorn Baking eCourse at Traditional Cooking School.)
Since our family has regular pizza nights, I feed my starter to make sourdough pizza.
If I was baking more often, I would feed my starter more. If I was baking less, I would feed it a bit less OR store it.
4. What About The Flour For Feedings?
No need to stress over grinding fresh flour or using certain types of flour for maintaining the starter!
You can feed with any flour; it doesn’t have to be the flour you’re using in the recipe.
I grind fresh flour for whatever I bake. I have a bit leftover, inevitably. THAT is what I use to feed the starter. So I don’t have to grind fresh flour or go through much effort to keep it going.
5. Keep It Simple!
If this wasn’t simple, I wouldn’t do it.
The process is so simple, I can ask one of the children to feed the starter for me if I don’t have time.
6. What Container Do I Use?
You can use a jar or bowl, ceramic or glass. I use a bowl covered with a plate.
In the summer, I put a cheesecloth between plate and bowl to keep the fruit flies out. I change the bowl every other week or so — more frequently in summer because it’s warmer and the bowl gets cruddier sooner. 😉
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The #AskWardee is the live weekly show devoted to answering your niggling questions about traditional cooking: whether it’s your sourdough starter, your sauerkraut, preserving foods, broth, superfoods or anything else to do with Traditional Cooking or your GNOWFGLINS lifestyle.
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I want to know: what is YOUR daily sourdough routine?
...without giving up the foods you love or spending all day in the kitchen!
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