Maintaining Your Starter Grandpa’s Way

by on June 5, 2013 » Add the first comment.
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When I first started baking with Sourdough Starter thirty years ago, the amount of the starter quickly overwhelmed me. Here is a way that you can maintain your starter, and create just enough for two people or a small family.

Sustaining and maintaining your Starter
Grandpa’s Directions…

This assumes that you now have about 1 cup of active starter kept in a glass jar in the refrigerator with a plastic screw lid that IS NOT tightened too tightly.

  1. Start with your jar of refrigerated starter.
  2. Again, this depends on how many you are cooking for. If you are preparing loaves for a potluck or for a larger family, look below for instructions on how you can increase the amounts. Be sure you decrease to your sustainable level after all the excitement has died out.
  3. Transfer your jarred starter to a large glass bowl. Add 1/2 CU bread flour
  4. Add 1/2 CU warm milk (room temp is OK)
  5. 1 TBL sugar
  6. Mix and let sit (covered) overnight to ferment (at least 10-16 hours) I prefer to set it under a small table lamp.
    – Meanwhile, wash your storage jar. Contamination can ruin your starter.
  7. Next morning, fill your glass jar with your amount of starter (same amount as in Step 1) and return the jar to the refrigerator.
    – Once every month (or if your starter starts to look sick,  add 1 TBL potato water, 1 tsp cider vinegar, 2 TBL AP flour
  8. Use the remainder for your recipe.

NOTE: You must use/feed your starter at least once every week, or the starter will die. Even if you don’t bake, feed it and discard (or share) the part you would normally use.

You can make potato water by grating half a potato and microwaving 1/2 C water for a minute.  Put the potato into the water, and when it cools, your potato water is ready to use.

Never use salt, as it can kill your starter.  Add salt only at step number 8 above.


Increasing your amount of starter for things such as a potluck.

So we will assume that you have taken your starter out of the refrigerator, added flour and water to it, and it has been setting on the table overnight.

Since you now have twice as much starter as the day before, you will need twice as much flour and twice as much milk as the day before.

Let it set on the counter again overnight, fill your starter jar and put it in the fridge, and then prepare the loaves for your potluck. If you have extra starter, take them in small containers to give to people who want to start their own sourdough starter. Please refer them to this website for maintenance instructions.

Find more like this: Grandpa's Use Only

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