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Feeding a Sourdough starter can and should be easy. I have lots of pictures to explain but this process literally should not take you more than 5-10 minutes.
I store my starter in the refrigerator. It gets fed or refreshed every 3-4 days, when it’s time to make more bread, usually I’m doing this right before I go to bed. Upon pulling it out of the refrigerator it is “sleeping” and needs to wake up. It will usually have a bit of alcohol on the top that is tinted black. This is normal.
Here is the key to success with feeding a starter: Use a scale to weigh everything. A scale doesn’t cost much and you immediately will be a better baker for it.
My starter always stays in a QUART size mason jar, and gets weighed with the mason jar. This makes things really easy.
Upon taking it out, you weigh the jar with the starter. Above I have 741 grams. The goal is to ALWAYS start with 700 grams total (including jar weight).
I take out any extra and give it to my chickens. If it was fresh you could use it for other recipes but at this point it’s not very active. Now you should have 700 grams of starter plus jar weight. Every once and a while I pour the starter into a new jar. Considering I was photographing this process, I decided a clean jar was necessary :)
Next, I tare the scale. It should read 0 grams.
Next, you add 150 grams of flour. My starter is 100% whole wheat so I add 150 grams whole wheat flour. Make sure your adding the same type of flour every time. If someone gives you a white flour starter, add white flour. For rye flour starter, add rye flour, you get the idea…
Next add 150 grams of SPRING water. It is imperative you use non chlorinated water. I do have a filter on my tap water but I don’t trust it completely so I buy spring water for this purpose. You can either tare in between or just add it up too 300 grams. So just to review: 150 grams spring water + 150 grams flour.
Then you give it a good stir. At this point jar + old starter + new food = 1000grams. You don’t have to tare and see if it weighs that much. I just did it for demonstration purposes or if you want to double check your numbers.
A sourdough starter will thrive with consistency. And when feeding a starter I always do 100% hydration which basically means equal weights of water and flour.
I let it sit overnight, from 6-8 hours depending on how much sleep I get that night haha! In the morning it should smell fresh still and ready to use for sourdough bread or other recipes. Obviously you can refresh your sourdough starter anytime of day just wait 6-8 hours to use it. I like to do mine overnight because I can get a jump on making bread in the morning.