Maintaining and Feeding a Sourdough Starter

Once you’ve successfully Created a Sourdough Starter, you’ll want to keep it thriving with regular feedings. This entire process may seem a bit overwhelming for the new sourdough baker…which Sourdough Mistakes to Avoid, Why Sourdough is One of the Healthiest Breads, and Frequently Asked Questions About Sourdough...but you’ll quickly get the hang of it all!

New to sourdough and wondering what kind of recipes to begin baking with it? Here are a few of my recommendations: Sourdough Pancakes | Naturally Sweetened, Sourdough Drop Biscuits, Sourdough Recipes for Breakfast, and much more!

You’ve got the sourdough starter going…but now what? How does one keep it thriving? Continue reading in order to learn everything you need to know about feeding and maintaining a sourdough starter. We’ll discuss how to feed it if you store it in the fridge or if you store it at room temperature. All the details are right here!

How Often to Feed a Starter

If you bake a lot of sourdough treats you may choose to keep your starter on the counter, at room temperature. While this means feeding it twice a day, it also means your starter’s always ready to go when you are. If you’re a more casual sourdough baker stash your starter in the refrigerator, where you’ll need to feed it just once a week.

Read more about How & Why to Put a Sourdough Starter in the Fridge right here!

Feeding a Starter that is Stored at Room Temperature

I am not fussy with the feedings I give my starter. You may choose to stick to a more rigid routine and suggestions found through other sources, but my starter is happy and healthy with the way I care for it.

I simply eyeball how much starter I seem to have in my jar and feed it at least an equal amount of water and flour. You may give it more if desired.

For example, if I have 1 cup of starter, I’ll feed it at least 1/2 cup of filtered water and 1/2 cup of flour.

How to ‘Feed’ it:

  1. Add the needed amount of flour and water to your sourdough starter.
  2. Use a fork or spoon to mix it up until it is well combined. I like using a fork in order to break up any clods of flour (we don’t want those in there!).
  3. Check that the consistency is similar to pancake batter.
  4. Cover the bowl or jar with a tea towel or glass lid. Avoid an airtight lid so that oxygen can work its way into your starter.
  5. Allow to sit of for 4-12 hours before using in a recipe. We want it to double in volume.
  6. If not using for baking that day, feed about 12-24 hours after last feeding or place in the fridge.

When to Add More than Equal Parts:

I like to add more than the equal amount of my sourdough when I am running low on starter.

For example, I have 1 cup of starter and I know I want to make a double batch of pancakes later in the day (I’d need 4 cups of starter for that), so I will give my starter and extra large feeding so there will be plenty when I use it later.

Keep in Mind: It never hurts to give your starter a larger feeding than it needs, but always avoid under-feeding it. Inadequate feedings will weaken your starter over time.

Feeding a Starter that is Stored in the Fridge

Putting a sourdough starter in the fridge is like pressing the pause button on the fermentation process, so you do not need to feed it as often as you would a starter left at room temperature. On the counter, it needs to be fed daily, but in the fridge, it only needs to be fed once a week

  1. Take the starter out of the fridge; there may be a bit of liquid on top.
  2. Either drain this liquid off or stir it in, your choice; it’s simply a byproduct of the fermenting yeast. 
  3. Feed your starter according to the “How to ‘Feed’ it” instructions listed above.
  4. Place the starter back in the fridge until you’re ready to store it at room temperature, use it for baking, or just need to feed it again.

You can even switch back and forth between the refrigerator and the room temperature storage if you use it sporadically. I’ll place mine in the fridge during times when I’m not baking as much and simply bring it out when I know I’ll be using it multiple days in a row.

How Can I Make My Own Sourdough Starter?

Interested in implementing sourdough into your kitchen? Here’s everything you need to know to get your sourdough starter going.

All it takes is flour, water, and about 7 days time.

I also answer a few of the most frequently asked questions about sourdough over here.

How is Sourdough Healthier than Regular Bread?

Read more in depth about the health benefits of sourdough here. I explain four reasons that sourdough is one of the healthiest breads you can consume, as well as describe how the fermentation process of sourdough works.

More on Sourdough

Pin it for Later!

Leave a Little Thought

Up ↑