All about the Sourdough Starter

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Sourdough starter is the first thing we discus in our classes as it is the main ingredient in the bakes we teach.We find that people struggle to keep it going or don’t understand how it works.

So here are the main questions we get asked and we hope this will help everyone to understand the process.

The internet is full with recipes and tips and sometimes this can be so confusing. Actually the process is fairly simple. The most important things to keep the starter alive is the temperature and the four used.

Shortly we will do a separate post about how to start your starter from the beginning.

This one will answer some of the basic questions you might have.

What is Sourdough Starter?

  • It is a “living creature”, fermented flour and water. 
  • After it has been fed, it becomes happy- active and bubbly.
  • Once it has doubled in size, it can be used in bakes.

Feeding your starter:

To activate and keep it lively and happy you will need to feed it on a regular basis in case you keep it at a room temperature ( you can store in the fridge also)

You will need:

  1. Good quality flour - unbleached 
  2. Water - bottled, filtered
  3. Jar
  4. Spoon
  5. Spatula - we always advice our students to clean very thuraly the sides of the jar so it doesn’t dry out and you can see clearly how it is risen.
  6. A marker - to mark the level ( elastic band works well too) 
  7. Scales
  8. Smile!

What to expect:

If you are just starting - it will take 7-14 days to achieve starer that is strong enough to be usedIf you got given your new pet, it will take 3-6 hours to double in size - depending on the room temperature . The ideal temperature is between 22-25 degrees Celsius.

When is it ready to be used?

The best way is to do the float test:

  • you drop a spoonful of starter in a bawl of water. If it floats on the top- it is ready to be used in your bakes.
  • It should have very pleasant, fruity smell
  • Has doubled in size
  • Had large and small bubbles 
  • Has lovely fluffy texture 

How to store it?

If you are going to bake regularly, you can store it on the kitchen counter and refresh ones or twice a day.
If you are going to bake once a week or less, You can store in the fridge and refresh it 2-3 times( if it has been in the fridge for a few days) before you use it in your bakes. If you store it in the fridge, you should refresh it at least once a week. NB: If you decide to keep in the fridge, once you have refreshed it you have to wait till it reaches peak and then put it in the fridge again! 

What formula should I follow:

We encourage our students to refresh very small amounts. That’s what we do at home anyway. We work with 10/10/10 ( 10g flour, 10g water 10g starter) and once we decided we want to bake we create the Levain. If your starter is in good shape, making bigger starter shouldn’t be a problem. 

How often should we refresh?

It depends on how often you will use it.If you are baking on a regular basis, 2-3 times a week, it is better if you refresh at least ones a day. Ideally twice. If you are planning to bake ones a week and are seeing your starter in the fridge, it will need 2-3 refreshments before preparing the starter that will be used in the bakes.

Well, we hope that we have answered most of your questions, if we haven’t, please let us know and will try to help.

Just put all your love and care and we are sure you will succeed in looking after your Pet.

Good luck and we would love how you are getting on.

Check out our Facebook group and page for more tips and quick answers.

Keep baking with love,

Yana @Kvas

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