Top tips for new sourdough creators…

A bowl of rice and water on the table.

The massive surge of interest in sourdough during the lockdown has been amazing, I am literally inundated with messages and emails from dawn til dusk. A lot of them are from people asking for help as they make new starters, others are asking about how to use the various flours they’ve managed to get hold of.

If you’ve recently joined the sourdough fun and are making a starter, have made one, or are struggling getting flour, I thought I’d share some tips in case it’s useful..

*You only need small amounts of flour to make a sourdough starter.
*You can use any flour to make a starter, ideally not gluten free flour although it can be done, it will be a lot weaker.
*You don’t need to feed your starter the same flour it was made from if you’ve now run out.
*Once your starter is established, you only need to feed it to use it, daily feedings are no longer necessary.
*It doesn’t need feeding again to store it.
*Only feed your starter what it needs to generate what you need for your recipe, this way there’s no waste and you’re not using unnecessary flour.
*You don’t need to work to ratios or percentages.
*The flour you made your starter from does not need to match the flour you make your dough from.

If I can help anyone with their starter do let me know. And if you’ve got random flours and would like some ideas for using them I’m starters or doughs, let me know too.

14 thoughts on “Top tips for new sourdough creators…”

  1. Elaine, I have a couple of equipment questions. I’ve searched your site but can’t find the information, so hoping you’ll cover them here or add them to a tips blog post at some stage for those of us not on Facebook or Twitter.

    What sized lidded bowl do you find works well for keeping Star in? I need to get or scrounge one for my starter (unnamed as yet – getting to know her first), and want one that is roomy enough for my approx 100g starter without taking up too much fridge space.

    Also, could you please share options for storing the loaf (from your master recipe – yum!!) once baked? There’s only 2 of us so it takes us a few days to eat it and we’d like to enjoy every last crumb.

  2. My new starter didn’t rise double after feeding it what should I do
    …I know I saw the answer somewhere I just can’t remember where or what to do

  3. Sometimes they just need more time when it’s cold. Could you please tell me more…
    How long did you allow it to grow after feeding?
    How old is your starter?

  4. I’m on day 5 of a starter in a hot & humid environment. The thermostat is set for 78 F (25.5 C) but I know that it gets warmer than that in the kitchen. I saw your advice today about feeding twice and reducing/eliminating water this morning. I fed it just water this morning but am wondering if it’s too far gone. There was hooch yesterday that stirred in but today it was very liquid and had lost the gloopyness that it has been having. I fed flour only but I would love your thoughts.

  5. Hi, I’d guess it just needs to extra input, don’t throw it out. Would you like to email some some photos/videos of how it looks?

  6. Hi Elaine, Thanks for all the great info you post. I started a starter 5 and half days ago. From 24 to 48 hours after beginning it was bubbling away (bacteria I’m assuming). It’s gone quiet since then. It’s had pretty much had the same mild, not unpleasant aroma since day 2. Texture of the mix hasn’t changed much since the start, maybe just a bit more liquid now. Air temp has been a pretty steady 68-70 degrees F. My question is, should I feed during this period when I’m seeing no bubbling or rising? I’ve read that the mixture would probably be acidfying at this point creating a good yeast environment and that feeding might slow that process, so I’m not sure how to proceed. Thanks!

  7. The answer is always keep going, always, all starters are different and some just take longer than others, but if it’s become more liquid, or thinner, add extra flour to thicken it up again and give it some more body.

  8. Thanks so much for the advice. I’ve been doing pretty much as you wrote, adding small amounts of flour when the mixture gets more liquid. Approaching day 8 now. I spied a few tiny bubbles today, could be left over from mixing or maybe the beginning of a proper culture. We shall see!

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