If you’ve been around here for a while, you know I use my sourdough starter straight from the fridge. I always have. The best part about this method is that is requires no discarding. I want to share with you my method for maintaining a sourdough starter in the fridge.
Back over a decade ago when I first wanted to start a sourdough starter, I was met with what seemed like thousands of different methods and ideas. It was overwhelming. However, with perseverance and trial and error, I finally figured out a method that works for me and has for all these years.
Maintaining a sourdough starter simply means keeping it fed and happy:) It’s a living thing that requires some attention. However, it doesn’t require daily attention if you use this method.
If you have been told or have read that you have to leave your starter on the counter and feed it every 12-24 hours then it can seem wasteful, at least it did to me. This method has you take out the biggest portion and discard it before you feed it. Of course you can use the discard, but, if you are doing this process every 12 hours, that’s a lot of discard to use up!
Over the years, I have found that a sourdough starter actually doesn’t require that much attention to thrive. I feed mine once a week on average and use it 2-3 times a week. I have never had an instance where it didn’t rise the dough.
So, let’s jump into my maintenance schedule and how you can adapt it to your particular needs.
Let’s say I just made a loaf of bread and used up almost all of my starter for the loaf. I am left with a very small amount of starter in my jar. I will feed the starter 3/4 cup of filtered water and 1 cup of flour. I use whatever flour I have on hand. Whether it be all purpose, freshly milled, or rye. The starter doesn’t seem to care, ha ha!
After I feed it, I put mine loose lid on top, cover with a towel, and allow it to ferment for at least 4 hours up to 8 hours at room temperature. I am looking for it to become very bubbly and active and have a sweet, yeasty smell.
Once it’s active, I put it in the fridge. Feeding this amount of flour and water yields me enough starter for 2-3 loaves.
Now, lets say 2 days later I need to make bread. I will take my starter straight from the fridge and put it in the recipe. I will put the starter back in the fridge.
I will continue with this method until there isn’t enough starter left in the jar to make a loaf of bread or other baked good.
I start the process all over again.
Now, as the days go on, the starter will get a liquid on top and not be bubbly anymore, however, it still works just fine. I don’t feed it until it needs it.
If you have a new starter or younger starter, you may notice that your dough is sluggish to rise at first. That is normal and it just means your starter needs time to develop and mature.
In these instances, I suggest using lukewarm water to wake up your starter a little quicker and get a better rise or use a bit more starter than the recipe calls for.
I sure this helps you out if you are just get started with sourdough and want to use the no discard method.
Happy baking and see you soon!