How to feed sourdough starter

Feeding your sourdough starter can be intimidating at first. However, it is relatively straight forward. The main idea is to take some of your starter and add flour and water to it because the wild yeast in your starter needs more food overtime. I hope you enjoy these instructions for how to feed your sourdough starter.

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You’ll need:

  • A kitchen scale
  • a clean container or jar
  • your sourdough starter
  • water
  • whole wheat flour

Step-by-step Sourdough starter feeding instructions

  1. Place a clean container or jar on on your kitchen scale and tare it. You absolutely need a kitchen scale to maintain your sourdough starter because it needs to be consistently fed the same ratio of flour and water or else it could be underfed or overfed. For more information on sourdough baking tools, check out my post.
  2. Weigh out a small about of sourdough starter into the clean container or jar and remember the weight. For this example, let’s pretend you weight out 100 g sourdough starter.
  3. Then, add the same weight of water (100 g in this case) to the starter in the container or jar.
  4. Next, add the same weight of whole wheat flour (100 g in this case to the starter/water.
  5. Mix until smooth, cover and either store it in the refrigerator or at room temperature. If you refrigerate it, it will need to be fed within 1-2 weeks while at room temperature, it will need to be fed at least once per day. I keep mine in the refrigerator unless I am planning to bake that same day.

Video demonstrations of feeding your sourdough starter:

how to feed sourdough starter

Before and after photos of an active sourdough starter:

The photo below demonstrates what an active sourdough starter looks like on the right hand side of the image. About 5 hours after feeding, it doubled in size and is very bubbly. It is important to remember that your sourdough starter is a living thing and needs food.

feeding sourdough starter
sourdough starter growth

Frequently asked questions

  • Does the water need to be filtered?

Not necessarily. It depends on how the water in your city is treated. I usually use regular tap water and have had no issues, but if your city water is heavily treated to kill bacteria, you might have problems.

  • Can I feed it with a different type of flour?

Yes, I’ve heard rye flour also works quite well to feed your sourdough starter.

  • Can I feed it with a different ratio of flour and water?

Yes, I’ve seen other bakers feed their starters with other ratios of flour and water such as 1:2:2. This will change the growth rate of your starter.

  • What should I do with the remaining sourdough starter that I didn’t feed (the discard)?

You can make pancakes, waffles, breadsticks or many other baked goods with the discarded starter!

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