How often, when, where and why do we refresh our starter?
Sourdough culture, or our pet - The Starter, is the essential ingredient in our sourdough bakes.
We have a few articles dedicated to this topic but here, in this one we will talk about how to create an active and happy one.
Very often questions like:
- Is it too thick?
- Is it too thin?
- Is it too cold?
- Isn't it too warm?
- How do I stir it?
- Can I just quickly mix it?
- What is the best ratio?
- How often to refresh?
- How do I prepare the Levain?
- Where do I keep it?
…occur on a daily basis in our classes and in supported Facebook groups.
Yana has created a video "How to mix sourdough starter (levain)?" which will help answer most of these questions.
On a regular basis, we refresh our starter- who lives on the kitchen counter - in ratio 1/1/1
Which means that the flour and water are the same amounts as the starter.
For example - 10g starter 10g water 10g flour
As we always say:
*The flour has to be organic, unbleached and the water - clean and purified - either filtered or bottled, or left at least 24 hours at room temperature.
Room temperature is super important as the starter doesn't like the cold!!!!
Between 22-25 degrees is the happiest.
If you are about to make the levain, you need to time it well.
Generally for bread, we create the levain overnight
Around 10pm we mix 10g starter with 75g water and 75g flour.
This is for 2 loaves, where a 150g starter will be needed.
The next day, around 9-9.30am is ready to be used.
If we need it earlier, we will mix a little bit more starter to 75/75g water and flour.
Lets say- 15g starter to 75/75g water and flour.
Bear in mind that in summer months the starter will be ready quicker!
We always say - don't keep too much starter as you can see, it is super easy to multiply it.
Do you have some leftover discard or want to make a bigger amount of starter that can be used in different recipes?
Again, this is easy to do and there are plenty of ideas here in our blog to inspire you.
Discard is perfect to make pancakes, muffins, cakes, even some savoury bakes too.
It is best to be used for up to 5 days since it has been in the fridge.
Older than that will have a very sour taste and might smell of a nail polish. So don't use it if it's older than 5 days.
If you are not going to bake every day, you can store it in the fridge. In case you only bake occasionally it is a good idea to keep some dry sourdough starter in the cupboard. This ensures you always have a backup even when the live culture went in the bin.
If you prefer it to be ready at all times and you can create the levain whenever you fancy, keep it on the kitchen counter and refresh daily- once or twice a day.
You must use your sourdough starter for baking when it is at its peak.
We hope this article was helpful and please let us know if you have more questions that we haven't answered yet.