If You Loave Something, Let It Go
Warning: As we saw yesterday, you will need to discard some starter in order to properly “train” your yeast and bacteria. There are a couple reasons for that. First, if you just keep adding fresh water and flour without discarding any starter, your home will soon be covered in heaping bowls of bubbly batter. It gets overwhelming, and I can tell you from experience and reader mail, that after (unsubstantiated) fermentation fear, being overwhelmed is the number one killer of budding fermentation habits.
The second reason to discard is the microbial make up of the starter itself. By discarding finished starter and feeding fresh flour, you keep the balance of microbes in check, and keep the bread from becoming too sour. One take away from that, for those of you that prefer San Francisco to Paris, is that using a higher percentage of starter to flour and water will result in a more sour bread. So if that’s what you like, feed less frequently and discard less starter.
So let’s get back to it! For the next 3 to 5 days you’ll repeat the type of feeding that you did yesterday. Try to do it at the same time everyday. You’ll be continuing the training up of your microbes, preparing them to raise and flavor your bed well.
Once your starter is established, you will not need to feed it daily, but until then set a reminder on your phone, or think of this as your new habit. Just feed it at roughly the same time every day.
Want to start from the beginning?
- Step 1 (Days 1-3) – Let’s Get This Starter Started
- What your starter will look like after 24 hours of fermentation
- Step 2 (Days 3-7) – Stabilizing Your Starter
- Why You Should Do a “Low-proportion” Sourdough Feeding (You Are Here)
- 4 Things to Make with Excess Starter
- Getting Ready to Actually Bake a Loaf! Equipment and Starter Health Check
- Preparing the Leaven
- Mixing the Dough and Bulk Fermentation
- Dividing, Shaping, Final Rise
- Baking and Cooling