As easy as it was to make your simple sourdough starter, it’s exponentially easier to maintain it. Once you have a strong starter, it’s pretty damn hard to kill. I like to feed my starter at least every week; but, sometimes, I end up using enough of it up before then and have to build it back up early.
A starter is so easy to maintain that I won’t bother you with any analogies or crap about my life, and I’ll just get right to it and leave you more time to bake your boules, bagels, and pizza.
How to maintain your Sourdough starter
- Remove your starter from the fridge and discard all but approximately 50 grams of your starter.
- Add 100 grams of AP flour and 100 grams of room temp water to your starter and mix with a sterling silver spoon or plastic spatula until all the flour is incorporated.
- Close the lid on your jar (make sure that it isn’t airtight) and let it sit on the counter until it triples. This can take 5 to 10 hours depending on the temp of your kitchen. If you use the glass jar that I use, the mixture will come almost to the top.
- Place your starter back in the fridge. To be used next time you make a levain for baking.
As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I prefer to not just throw away the starter that I don’t use each week. Instead, I’ll use it to make a loaf of bread or baguettes.
All you ever have to do is figure out how much starter you have, back it out of the total flour and water amount, and then follow the rest of the baking instructions. Since you aren’t using a good mature levain, it’s going to take longer to bulk ferment, but the bread you make will taste just as good and it’s less wasteful. Which, as any fan of Massimo Bottura knows, is a good thing.
Also, every week feeding is a guideline but don’t worry about being exact. Sometimes, I’ve forgotten and ended up going ten days without feeding my starter. My brother actually went three weeks without feeding his starter (which was from the starter that I made in VA and drove cross country), and his starter was totally fine.
A lot will depend on the strength of your starter. So, it is best to be a little more precise when it’s newer. Over time, if you go on vacation and forgot about it for longer, you should be okay.
Of course, if anything ever happens to your starter, you can always just start over. Since we all know how easy it is to make a simple sourdough starter.