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windyacres

How much to feed a 2 oz sourdough starter?

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A friend gave me a 2 ounce sourdough starter.  How much do I start out feeding it?  I've been reading that you can feed it equal amounts of flour and water, or slightly more flour than water.  But, obviously, I don't want to feed this small amount of starter a cup of each or even half a cup of each!  I'm thinking perhaps start out with 2 TBS of each.  Are there guidelines regarding amounts to feed sourdough depending on how much you have?

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I usually throw away 80% of it in the morning and add the same amount of flour and water mix. You can feed it more often, look when it goes down, which means that it runs out of food and feed it then. It is not that it will die if you feed it more. It will just take longer to ferment what you fed it. That is all I know, but I am not a professional. : )

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There's a mountain of sourdough knowledge at KAF, I highly recommend it..

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For a 100% hydration starter (this means the water weighs the same as the flour) you would use equal amounts, by weight, of the ripened starter, flour, and water. You could take one ounce starter and add one ounce of water and one ounce of flour - reserve the rest of the old starter in the fridge as a back-up, just in case. To cut down on wasting flour and having my starter take over the entire kitchen, I usually do a small amount like this until I am planning to use it. Then I will give it frequent feedings and increase the amount according to how much I will need for the recipe.

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Starters are so much fun and so hardy.  I took two out of the fridge a couple of weeks ago to revive them and bake with them.  They had been in the fridge since December 15th and forgotten about.  Couple of days of feeding and they were ready to go.

 

As stated KAF is okay for info on starters although I feel like The Fresh Loaf forums have better information.

 

OP, try not to stress out too much on the feedings.  I used to be so careful with my measurements and would drive myself crazy trying to get it right.  Once you get used to it, you can eyeball it.  Typically, when you feed your starter, you are trying to double the amount you start with.  So in your case, if you started with 2oz, then you would want to add enough flour and water to make the total weight 4oz (assuming you are not throwing any out...I hate to waste things so I typically keep the part I would throw out and make pancakes or such with them).

 

What flour are you using to feed it?  The type of flour you use will affect how much water you end up using.  I personally like rye flour, but it is so darn difficult to source where I live.

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As usual, be careful taking random advice off of the internet! A well-established starter can be carried forward with many different ratios, and on many different feeding schedules. Anyone who tells you that it must be done a certain specific way is simply reporting their preferred method, not a hard-and-fast rule. Broadly speaking your goal is to make sure that your yeast and bacteria get enough to eat, don't run out of food before you have a chance to feed them again, and have a relatively stable pH. You don't mention what temperature you are keeping your starter at: if it's at room temperature you might be surprised by how much food it can run through!

 

As a good starting place, Modernist Bread's preferred feeding schedule is once every 24 hours, storing the starter at 55°F, and feeding 4x the weight of the starter in flour and an equal amount of water. For your example, then, you would feed 8oz of flour and 8oz of water to 2oz of starter every 24 hours, discarding (or baking with) the remaining starter. Personally, as someone who only bakes once per week, I find this a bit wasteful in terms of discarded starter, so I store mine in the refrigerator. On Friday morning I take it out of the fridge and put it on the counter (70°F or so). At 10pm or so I feed it according to the MB ratio. I put some of it in the fridge for the next week, and leave the rest on the counter overnight for the next day's baking. It's ready to use first thing the following morning.

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I do basically what @Chris Hennes says above, except my ratio is 1:5 starter to flour. Recently I've changed to a 50% hydration starter and it's going very well.

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Thanks to everyone for the advice.  I ended up taking 1 oz of the starter and feeding it 2 oz of ww flour and 2 oz of water.  It is a ww starter.  I saved the other oz in the frig in case I messed up the first oz.  I fed it in the evening and let it set out overnight.  All I can say is it was magical.  The next morning the starter had doubled and was bubbly on top.  I couldn't believe it!  So, I did the same with the other oz and today it had doubled and was bubby.  I put the second one in the frig and decided to try to make bread out of the first.  I tried to go by this web site:  http://www.breadwerx.com/make-50-whole-wheat-sourdough-video/

 

I followed the written directions, but probably should have watched the video first, because I didn't really understand what he meant by the "pre-round".  Sigh.  I think perhaps I over worked the dough.  At any rate, it doesn't seem to have risen as much as it should.  Getting ready to put it in the oven and will let you know how it turns out. 

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My first attempt at baking sourdough bread turned out not so good.  The problem was I cooked it in a Dutch oven with a lid the first 20 minutes, then took the lid off and cooked it until I thought it was done.  Well, it stuck to the bottom and sides of the Dutch oven.  I had to tear it up to get it out.   I have a round cast iron griddle I could have cooked it on, but have no way to cover it during the first half of baking.  Suggestions?

 

The bread actually tastes pretty good, although it is somewhat gummy.

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The Fresh Loaf may be a little more help in this.

First, what was your schedule? When did you last feed your starter, what exactly were the amounts, when did you bake with it after that feed? What recipe did you use and what kind of proofing times did you have?
It could be your loaf was underproved. It takes time and experience, but proving schedules in a recipe are a guideline that the baker needs to adapt to their own situation every single time you bake.

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Posted (edited)

You know, I started reading (okay, going down the rabbit hole) about "mini-starters," small sourdough starters, etc. etc.

 

I mean, from esteemed sources for sure. King Arthur sure seems to be writing a lot about it.

 

Quote

 But if you feel guilty about throwing out a lot of unused discard this feeding method — which uses a lot less flour — might be just what you’re looking for!

 

So do our friends at Cook's Illustrated (and they've got a #hashtag!):  Make Your Own Mini Sourdough Starter With the #Quarantinystarter Project

 

Quote

I shared my tiny starter project idea—a recipe included—to my Instagram account, as well as the Cook’s Illustrated one, and the idea quickly went, well, viral. 

 

I wonder if they were reading eGullet, oh I dunno, 11 years ago?

 

Sam explained it in greater detail in the post preceding mine. He also debunked the equal parts refreshment theory, but I guess Cook's Illustrated and King Arthur haven't gotten around to that yet.


Edited by weinoo (log)
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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Posted (edited)

@weinoo thank you for linking to this older sourdough topic. When I thought about trying to make sourdough bread I found the eGullet sourdough bread course but I did not find the content you just linked too. Happily going down that rabbit hole of a topic!

 

The Cooks Illustrated author, Andrew Janjigian, wrote about moving from an equal parts refreshments to another ratio (1 part starter:2 parts flour:2 parts water) once your starter was active on his quarantiny starter blog. Sadly the content on his blog and in his instagram posts was pulled (suspect he is dealing with some legal issues with CI). Very interesting to read about the eGullet recommended refreshment ratios from the 2009 topic that you linked to.

 

In case anyone else would like to access go down a rabbit hole the eGullet courses (they can be difficult to find). Here are a few links:

 


Edited by curls added links to eGullet courses and Q&A (log)
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, weinoo said:

The wheel can only be reinvented so many times..

 

My guess is the issues Janjigian is dealing with have to do with how many ways can Cook’s Illustrated monetize the issue. 

Indeed that is what I would think too but so far CI is providing his sourdough content for free and without website registration. They probably just wanted more website clicks.


Edited by curls (log)

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Posted (edited)

I’ve been feeding 3 times a day and keeping a very small starter, as recommended by @fullproofbaking on IG. She has a bunch of tutorials on YouTube and IG. 

My approximate and often flexible schedule:

I feed 5g of starter 10g flour (bread/ww mix) and 10g water at 7:00 a.m. (1:2:2)

2:00 p.m. discard all but 5g and feed 10g flour mix, 10g water. (1:2:2)
9:00 p.m. feed 5g starter 25g flour mix, 25g water.  (1:5:5)

 

The morning I want to mix dough I feed 15g starter with 30g flour mix and 30g water and use that in the bread mix for a ~650g loaf about 5 hours later and have just enough left over for my mid-day feed. 
 

6 years ago I kept a 67% stiffer starter and did 1 part starter, 2 parts water, 3 parts flour and fed twice a day. I liked that I had to knead to mix it—i could be sure everything was well incorporated, and it was more dramatic when it rose. But more recipes are written for a liquid starter and I got tired of doing the math 😂
 

But I’m really liking this micro starter. It’s very sweet and so much less waste. I just throw the spoonful of discard in the freezer and hold on to it until I have enough to make pancakes or waffles. 

These loaves were baked on that schedule with different amount of bulk fermentation (almost 5 hours, 6.5 hours, 8 hours). They all turned out pretty well. 

468395D3-691A-47E5-B1C9-6A766A928DDE.thumb.jpeg.bc4b481e571cf70f1ee80fd34ee7ad1e.jpeg
7145595A-14E0-483C-A87D-1211D10E74A2.thumb.jpeg.1485efb71f167d2764dbc23dde47f88f.jpeg

 


Edited by Pastrypastmidnight (log)
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Starter waste has been one of my biggest cooking pet peeves, haha. i'm glad people are starting to realize how unnecessary it is; small amounts still have millions of microbial cells.

 

13 minutes ago, Pastrypastmidnight said:

7145595A-14E0-483C-A87D-1211D10E74A2.thumb.jpeg.1485efb71f167d2764dbc23dde47f88f.jpeg

 

 

 

These are lovely. What was the overall rough hydration level of your dough?

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2 minutes ago, jimb0 said:

Starter waste has been one of my biggest cooking pet peeves, haha. i'm glad people are starting to realize how unnecessary it is; small amounts still have millions of microbial cells.

 

 

These are lovely. What was the overall rough hydration level of your dough?

Between about 76 and 78% on these, I think. I wet my hands a lot with mixing and folding, so with a smaller amount of dough it affects the hydration. 
 

And I agree about the waste. When I started my first starter about 6 or 7 years ago I just couldn’t throw anything away for the first month or two. It hurt too much. I think I probably had over 100 sourdough waffles and around 50 soft pretzels in my garage freezer at one point in time and then my family was like, “Stop, Mom, please. We can’t take any more.” This is so much more manageable. I’ve actually had to build up my discard on purpose to be able to make things with it. 

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1 minute ago, Pastrypastmidnight said:

, “Stop, Mom, please. We can’t take any more.”

 

Ahahahahahahah

 

I got a text from my neighbour a couple of weeks ago asking me if i wanted any discard because they've jumped onto the wagon. 

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Just now, jimb0 said:

 

Ahahahahahahah

 

I got a text from my neighbour a couple of weeks ago asking me if i wanted any discard because they've jumped onto the wagon. 

I got my current starter from a friend a month or two ago. When I was pregnant with my last baby I developed a weird aversion to my starter. I couldn’t even look at it or think about it without throwing up. Then I could never face the prospect of a freezer full of waffles to start my own from scratch again. But quarantine... so I jumped back on the horse, but started with a well-developed micro starter this time. 

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