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How do I store my sourdough starter?

Storing your sourdough starter properly is essential to keeping it healthy and ready for baking.

Short-Term Storage (Up to 1 Week):

If you bake frequently, you’ll likely be feeding your starter regularly. For short-term storage, simply keep your starter at room temperature and feed it once a day. Here’s how:

  1. Feed Daily: Maintain a consistent feeding schedule, ideally at the same time each day. Use a ratio of 1:1:1 (starter:flour). For example, if you have 100g of starter, feed it with 100g of flour and 100g of water.
  2. Room Temperature: Keep your starter in a warm, draft-free area, ideally between 21-24°C (70-75°F). This temperature range encourages healthy yeast and bacteria growth.

Long-Term Storage (More Than 3 Weeks):

If you don’t plan on baking for a while, you can store your starter in the refrigerator to slow down its activity. Here’s how:

  1. Feed and Refrigerate: Feed your starter using the usual ratio of 1:1:1. Allow it to sit at room temperature for a few hours to become active and bubbly. Then, cover it loosely and place it in the refrigerator.
  2. Weekly Feeding: Even in the refrigerator, your starter needs to be fed at least once a week. To do this, remove it from the fridge, discard half of the starter, feed it with fresh flour and water, and let it sit at room temperature for a few hours before returning it to the fridge.

Reactivating Your Starter:

When you’re ready to bake again after long-term storage, you’ll need to reactivate your starter:

  1. Bring to Room Temperature: Remove your starter from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
  2. Discard and Feed: Discard half of the starter and feed it with fresh flour and water. Repeat this process twice a day for 2-3 days until your starter is bubbly and active again.

Freezing Your Starter:

For even longer storage, you can freeze your starter:

  1. Prepare for Freezing: Feed your starter and let it become active. Once it’s bubbly, spread a thin layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and let it dry completely.
  2. Store in Freezer: Once dry, break the starter into pieces and store it in an airtight container or freezer bag. When you’re ready to use it, rehydrate a piece in water and feed it over several days to reactivate.

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Starter:

  • Use Clean Utensils: Always use clean utensils and containers to avoid contamination.
  • Consistent Feeding: Maintain a consistent feeding schedule, whether storing at room temperature or in the fridge.
  • Monitor Your Starter: Regularly check your starter for any off smells or signs of mold. A healthy starter should have a pleasant, tangy aroma.

By following these storage tips, you’ll ensure your sourdough starter remains healthy and ready for baking whenever you are. Happy baking from all of us at Sourdough by the Sea!

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