When do I use my starter?



I'm a complete newbie and managed to cheat a little and get some starter from a wonderful lady in melbourne, she's been using it for the last 9yrs. 

I've fed my starter with equal amaounts of flour/water for days now and it's very active. This morning I fed it a lot more than usual to ensure I had enough for my first bake (200 grams). 

What I want to know might seem silly but do I use the starter when it's at it's full capacity and grown or do I wait until it's dropped back down to get my 200 grams, or does it not matter in the slightest? 



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farinam's picture
farinam 2015 June 30

Hello NewbieInMelbourne,

What many people do is to maintain a 'stock' of culture and use some of that to prepare a starter for their loaf of bread.  So, what you do is take some of your stock (often about half of what you need for your loaf and feed that with flour and water to make the amount that you want and replace what you have taken from your 'stock' to maintain the amount and to give it a feed as well.

So, if you need 200g of starter for your recipe, take 100g from your stock and make it up with a combined total of 100g of flour and water.  Also add a combined total of 100g of flour and water to your stock (which can go back in the fridge if that is where you keep it).  Leave your starter on the bench to activate (time will depend on temperature) then when you are sure that it is alive and kicking mix your starter with the rest of the ingredients in the recipe and press on to make your loaf.

Have a read of SourDom's Beginners Blogs on this site for a really good primer on what to do and what to look for (as well as a good basic recipe).

Good luck with your projects.


NewbieInMelbourne 2015 July 1

Thanks Farinam :) 

I've read SourDom's post and found it very insightful, I had a crack at my first loaf this morning and it unfortunately turned out very dense, my folding technique is really not even a technique. i'll keep trying and hopefully i'll be a pro in no time. 


farinam's picture
farinam 2015 July 1

Hello Newbie,

Settle on a simple recipe (eg Pane francesa) and repeat it a number of times, taking care to note the look and feel as you make small changes to the timing and handling (above all, not to the recipe) and you will find that after a while things just click and you will wonder what all the fuss was about.

In the meantime have a look at this - http://sourdough.com/blog/one-way-make-loaf-bread and maybe it will help you to understand a little better what to look for.

Look forward to seeing your 'pro' results.


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