The right way to Preserve a Small Sourdough Starter – Sourdough Brandon


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Creating and sustaining a small sourdough starter has many advantages, together with decreasing waste. Plus, it’s simpler to handle for many house bakers.

Whereas many imagine that they should hold a big crock of sourdough starter readily available, the very fact is that sustaining a big sourdough starter is wasteful and pointless for many house bakers.

By conserving a small starter as I do, you may higher handle the scale of your starter earlier than bakes, feed it much less flour (thus, decreasing waste and prices), and hold your starter more healthy.

This in-depth information will cowl how and why you must preserve a small sourdough starter, together with many tips about doing so and all the advantages.


Why Make a Small Sourdough Starter?

In my day-by-day sourdough starter recipe, I stroll by precisely how I create a small sourdough starter from scratch. I deliberately made a small sourdough starter recipe for a lot of causes.

In contrast to many different sourdough starter recipes, my information doesn’t undergo luggage of flour to create a sourdough starter.

As an alternative, I create my very own sourdough starter by solely feeding it 50 grams of flour and 50 grams of water (equal elements) every day. This smaller quantity ends in much less waste (or discard) and is extra sustainable.

And whereas it can save you sourdough discard for sourdough discard recipes, you may solely save and bake with it as soon as your starter is energetic.

That’s as a result of an unestablished starter nonetheless has micro organism, yeasts, and dangerous germs from the uncooked flour that may make you sick (it’s why you shouldn’t eat raw cookie dough or uncooked flour).

As soon as the starter is established by pure choice, you’ll have a symbiotic tradition of micro organism and wild yeast that may leaven bread and you may bake with. No industrial yeast required!

As a result of it could take as much as per week or longer to make a brand new sourdough starter from pure and wild yeasts, making a small sourdough starter reduces waste and saves you cash within the course of!

It’s another excuse why I like to recommend conserving your starter in a heat location (75-80ºF) and feeding it rye flour (or entire wheat flour). Doing so will hasten the method and provide the most success, whereas decreasing waste and prices.

A small sourdough starter at peak in a small jar with a fern in the background.A small sourdough starter at peak in a small jar with a fern in the background.

The Advantages of Maintaining a Small Sourdough Starter

There are lots of advantages of creating and making a small sourdough starter, which I’ll element extra beneath. These advantages embody:

  • Reduces waste and price financial savings
  • Simpler to handle
  • Retains a more healthy starter
  • Simple to scale up for any recipe

Reduces Waste and Price Financial savings

I’ve already detailed above how making a small sourdough starter reduces waste and discard. However this additionally ends in value financial savings, since you gained’t have to feed your starter as a lot flour to maintain it wholesome and energetic.

I like to recommend feeding a longtime starter with unbleached bread flour and possibly some rye or entire wheat flour for greatest outcomes.

With that financial savings, you would determine to feed your starter with natural flour, which is able to make an excellent more healthy and extra energetic starter.

Simpler to Handle

A smaller starter is less complicated to handle as a result of you may hold it in a smaller jar, which takes up much less house, and also you don’t have to feed it as a lot flour and water.

Some hold their starters in giant crocks or big containers, which is pointless for many house bakers who sometimes bake with their starters.

A big starter will in the end end in extra waste and sourdough fatigue since you’ll consistently have to feed and discard giant quantities of your starter to maintain it wholesome. When you can retailer sourdough discard for a few weeks within the fridge, there may be solely a lot discard that you just’ll need to bake with!

Thus, conserving a smaller starter makes the method extra manageable for many house bakers and also you gained’t have a monster quantity of fixed discard in your fridge to make use of (or waste).

Jar of bubbly and ripe levain or sourdough starterJar of bubbly and ripe levain or sourdough starter

Retains a More healthy Starter

A wholesome sourdough starter is one that’s ate up a constant schedule, a minimum of doubles in measurement, and is robust sufficient to leaven breads.

By sustaining a small sourdough starter, which is less complicated to feed, you’ll have a more healthy starter. That’s since you gained’t need to feed it a lot flour and water as typically. Plus, you’ll really feel extra comfy discarding a bigger quantity of your small starter, which ends up in a more healthy starter.

Discarding is a obligatory a part of sourdough baking. It helps you preserve the scale of your starter, but it surely additionally advantages your starter by conserving acid ranges down (or pH).

A extra acidic starter will scent sturdy, have to be refreshed extra typically, and can, over time, end in a weaker and weaker starter (and in flip, worse bread).

By discarding extra of your starter whenever you feed it, which I’ll assessment in my course of beneath, your tradition will rise slower and turn into much less acidic as a result of the microbes gained’t be “starved” of food a lot.

Consider the discarding course of because the flour having served a obligatory objective for the well being of your starter.

Stirring flour and water in jar for sourdough starterStirring flour and water in jar for sourdough starter
Stirring flour and water in jar for sourdough starter

Simple to Scale For Any Recipe

Lastly, a small starter is simple to scale up for any recipe or use for small batch sourdough recipes.

There are a few strategies you should utilize to make a bigger starter for no matter recipe you’re utilizing.

A technique is to easily feed your starter a bigger quantity of flour and water a day or two earlier than you bake with it. That method, you’ll have a bigger starter readily available that you could bake with.

Nevertheless, my most well-liked methodology is to make an offshoot of my starter, referred to as a levain.

I exploit a levain for my bread recipes so my small starter (or mom tradition) is constantly ate up the identical schedule with the identical quantities.

I take a portion of the starter that will usually be discarded after which use it because the seed for my levains (or preferment).

This creates a separate tradition that I can feed with different flours or sugar (for a candy levain) with out affecting the mom tradition. That’s a technique I exploit for recipes comparable to my Buckwheat Sourdough, Spelt Sourdough Bread, and Newbie’s Einkorn Sourdough Bread.

Plus, you may scale it as much as no matter measurement I want it to be.

For instance, in My On a regular basis Sourdough Bread recipe, I make a levain utilizing 30 grams of starter and 30 grams of flour and water (a complete of 90 grams of levain) to be prepared in 4 to five hours.

I can simply alter the ratio of feeding for my levain to make it bigger, rise slower, or feed it completely different flours with out affecting the well being of my smaller mom tradition.

Infographic of the difference between a sourdough starter, levain, and discard.Infographic of the difference between a sourdough starter, levain, and discard.

The right way to Preserve a Small Sourdough Starter

That is the method I usually use to feed and preserve my small and mature starter.

  1. Discard virtually all the starter, leaving simply scrapes of the starter left within the jar (about 5 grams). This little bit is all you want! Save the discard in a container within the fridge and add to it for a few weeks to make use of in sourdough discard recipes.
  2. Place the jar of starter on a digital kitchen scale, tare it to 0, and add 30 grams of flour and 30 grams of room temperature water. That is about ¼ cup every of flour and water.
  3. Stir it with a silicone spatula till it’s the consistency of pancake batter.
  4. Ideally, hold it at room temperature or a heat spot till it peaks and falls barely, usually by the subsequent day. If it’s hotter, it could be prepared in 12 hours, however you may regulate the feeding ratio as obligatory (notes below the chart beneath).
  5. Repeat the method.

Right here’s a visible chart of what my refreshment feeding appears. This can be a 1:6:6 ratio feeding schedule.

Components Weight
Sourdough Starter 5 grams
Unbleached bread flour 30 grams
Water 30 grams
Small Sourdough Starter Feeding Schedule

You possibly can simply regulate this feeding schedule and ratio to suit your wants.

For instance, for those who’re conserving your starter in a heat location or in a sourdough hotter like Goldie by Sourhouse, chances are you’ll have to feed it each 12 hours.

To cut back feedings and make it rise slower, both hold it in a barely cooler location or feed it at a better ratio, comparable to a 1:7:7 or 1:8:8 ratio with 40 grams of flour and water or extra, for instance.


The right way to Retailer a Small Sourdough Starter

When you bake typically, you may retailer your small sourdough starter at room temperature and feed it every day.

For longer-term storage, hold your starter within the fridge and feed it each few weeks. To take action, feed your starter, depart it at room temperature for a few hours, and place it within the fridge. Feed it a day or two earlier than utilizing it to get it sturdy and energetic once more.

To retailer your starter indefinitely, you may dry it out on parchment paper, break it aside into flakes, and retailer the starter within the pantry.

Merely unfold your starter thinly on a chunk of parchment paper or a silicone baking mat on a baking sheet, let it dry utterly (higher if in an arid surroundings) for as much as a day or two, after which break aside items of dried starter. Rehydrate the starter on the identical feeding ratios above.


The Finest Jars for a Small Sourdough Starter

Glass jars are the perfect containers for making and sustaining a sourdough starter as a result of they’re straightforward to wash, non-reactive, dishwasher protected, and can be utilized indefinitely.

My favourite jars have straight sides, flat bottoms, and a large mouth that allows you to simply feed and blend your starter. Huge-mouth mason jars or outdated jam jars are inexpensive choices to carry your small starter.

The Goldie by Sourhouse small pint jars are wonderful as a result of they don’t have any threads the place starter can stick like a mason jar, include a comfortable and breathable silicone lid, flat backside and straight sides to simply combine and clear, and have markings and a silicone band to mark how a lot your starter has risen/fallen.

Additionally they promote a quart-size bigger jar as effectively.

Small Goldie Pint JarSmall Goldie Pint Jar
Pint jar by Sourhouse

One other nice small sourdough starter jar possibility are these small 1/5 liter Weck jars.

Weck jars are nice for different storage choices like spices and jams. They arrive with canning seals however you should purchase different lids, comparable to cork and wooden.

I don’t use the canning seal and easily relaxation the glass lid on prime to launch any gases or carbon dioxide.

I like their wide-mouth lids and the way thick the glass is in case you knock it over. Plus, they’ve numerous sizes, together with their fashionable ¾ liter measurement, which is nice for beginning a brand new starter.

Small sourdough starter Weck jar with a larger Weck jar in the background.Small sourdough starter Weck jar with a larger Weck jar in the background.

When to Maintain a Massive Sourdough Starter

Whereas this text is all about conserving a small or mini sourdough starter, there could also be occasions when it is advisable to preserve a bigger starter.

Some the explanation why or when chances are you’ll have to hold a bigger sourdough starter are:

  • In case you have a big household and bake giant quantities of bread and baked items together with your starter typically (as soon as a day or extra). On this case, chances are you’ll not even need to discard.
  • When you don’t make a levain and it is advisable to construct up your starter to have sufficient for a recipe.
  • When you’re constructing a big sourdough starter to present out as items, presents, or promoting. That is what I do a day or two earlier than my sourdough starter workshops once I give out starter on the in-person occasions.
  • When you run a cottage enterprise, bakery, or restaurant and it is advisable to hold a considerable amount of sourdough starter to bake with.

In any other case, for many house bakers that bake with their sourdough starters sometimes, a small sourdough starter is greater than sufficient!


❓ Small Sourdough Starter FAQs

How do you develop a small sourdough starter?

The method of rising a small sourdough starter is similar as rising any sized sourdough starter, besides you utilize a smaller quantity of flour and water to create it.

My sourdough starter recipe creates a small sourdough starter with feeds of solely 50 grams of flour and water every. This may create a wholesome starter, whereas additionally decreasing waste.

Does jar measurement matter for sourdough starter?

As soon as a starter is energetic, it would a minimum of double in top. Thus, it is advisable to use a jar that’s a minimum of twice the scale of your starter.

When you’re sustaining a small sourdough starter, then a pint-sized jar will work. A quart-sized jar is nice for bigger starters.

How huge ought to my starter be?

It doesn’t matter how huge your starter is so long as it’s wholesome and energetic.

I preserve a small sourdoigh starter as a result of it reduces waste. When you’re baking typically and utilizing your starter so much, chances are you’ll have to hold a much bigger sourdough starter.

Do I nonetheless need to discard a small sourdough starter?

Usually, sure. You’ll nonetheless have to discard most of your small starter whenever you feed it so as to preserve its well being and measurement.

Nevertheless, for those who retailer your starter within the fridge or bake with it typically, you should have much less discard or none in any respect. It’s straightforward to regulate your feedings to no matter works greatest in your baking schedule.


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