Well, I have made some experience with baking and making dough for breads and pizzas during the pandemic times. I found that a lot of people around me started experimenting with different recipes and techniques in bread making.
And while original dry yeast is a perfect choice for every bread and every case, it cannot compare to the wild fermentation of the yeast in sourdough. The fact, that it’s not a cultivated and strong type of microorganisms, makes sourdough a bit more difficult to handle and use.
Now I will share with you how I keep my sourdough starter alive.
In this jar I keep my remaining sourdough, after using part of it, in a refrigerator. Of course, you can keep it in a room temperature, but you have to feed it every day with equal parts flour and water. This means, that every day I have to throw away most of the sourdough and refresh it with the water-flour mixture. This way I have to throw away about 500 g flour because I make bread or/and pizza once a week.
In refrigerator, the wild yeast can stay active a week or more, so after finish making my dough, I feed the starter and cool it down. Over the next five days it stays fresh and ready to be awaken.
After taking the sourdough starter out of the refrigerator, allow it to stay at least for a couple of hours in a room temperature, before feeding it. The high temperature difference can stress the microorganisms and they will not be in a good health to ferment your dough. Once I stressed one of my starters and pizza dough went out flat from the oven.
The photo above shows my sourdough after 6-7 hours out of the refrigerator.
I now get out some of the mixture of its too mischievous, but 1/4-1/5 of the jar is enough. I keep my first feeding a bit more hydrated.
When the yeast is weak and tired after some time in the refrigerator, it needs a bit more water in the solution to grow faster.
After adding equal parts of water and flour, I mix the starter well and keep it rest at least for the next 8-9 hours. Typically I feed it in the morning, so after work is time for the next feeding.
As you can see, the mixture has gained some size, but it’s not enough for making a strong and tasty bread. Time to feed it again in the evening. Now I throw away some of the starter, again leaving about 1/5 or less in the jar.
I keep second feeding more dense, reducing the quantity of the water.
As you can clearly see the texture in the jar is totally different and there are a lot of bubbles. Now I can clearly see my starter is absolutely ready for work!
Wait at least 6-7 hours after feeding your starter, before you use it in the dough. It needs time to get ready and get strong. Less time can result in a flat or not entirely fermented dough.
After I make my sourdough bread, I feed the starter again, in the evening I make sourdough pizza dough, feed the starter again and it goes in the refrigerator, resting and preparing for the next week.
That’s it. That’s the way I keep my starter fresh and don’t throw away much flour. After all we have to take care of not throwing much of it. We have to be responsible with our food.
See you soon, fellows!