Tag Archives: feeding

The Waste Conundrum

On bread discussion boards where people talk about their sourdough starters, invariably you will see posts written by people who are concerned about the amount of flour or old starter they end up tossing away, especially during the creating-the-starter phase. There seems to be much fretting and worrying that so much product is simply going to waste.

In this post, I’d like to address a few ideas concerning waste in the starter which, hopefully, will spark some discussion and help resolve some of the concern.

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Starter Maintenance: Regular feeds

Feeding a starter

There are several ways to keep a starter:

  • a “wet” starter which is like a thin pancake batter
  • a thicker pancake batter type
  • a stiff starter that looks like a ball of dough

There are advantages to each but for our purposes, we’ll use the more common ‘thick pancake batter’ type. We’ll also be keeping it at what’s referred to in the bread world as “100% hydration” which simply means your starter (or dough) has 100% of the flour weight in water. If you use 163g of flour, you add 163g of water; if you use 47g flour, use 47g water. Your flour’s weight is always the base and your water is the percentage of that weight. You’ll possibly see other percentages like 65% hydration starters which are more dough-like since there’s only 65% of the flour weight in water, therefore less water than flour. I just wanted to touch on hydration percentages because it seems to pop up a lot in the bread world. But as I said, we’ll work with the more typical 100% hydration level. Continue reading