Join Waitlist We will inform you when the product arrives in stock. Please leave your valid email address below.

How to Feed Your Sourdough Starter + Storage & Care Tips

Last Updated on August 8, 2023

Ah, the extraordinary sourdough starter. That hungry, bubbly, burping little beast that lives in your kitchen. Your new pet. And as with any living pet, you need to feed your sourdough starter for it to survive! Thankfully, a sourdough starter feeding and care routine can be as simple or as involved as you desire, depending on how you store your starter and how often you bake. And unlike other pets, a sourdough starter will reward you for your love and care – by providing delicious, crusty, fluffy homemade sourdough bread! Worth it. 

Read along to learn how to feed your sourdough starter to keep it healthy and happy! We’ll go over instructions to feed it by weight, or by volume measurements. Other factors to consider are what type of flour to feed the starter, and where to store it  – such as in the refrigerator or at room temperature – which will dictate how frequently the sourdough starter must be fed. Finally, we’ll discuss how to prepare a sourdough starter for baking a loaf of bread, and other FAQs about sourdough starter health.

If you don’t yet have one, check out this article to learn how to easily make your own sourdough starter from scratch using only 3 ingredients! For you gluten-free folks, be sure to check out our tutorial on how to create a gluten-free sourdough starter. Finally, if you happen to be starting out with a dehydrated sourdough starter (like the organic dry starter we offer here) you’ll want to tune into this article – specifically about how to reactivate a dry sourdough starter culture.

Don’t miss the printable cheat-sheet at the end!

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links to products for your convenience, such as to items on Amazon. Homestead and Chill gains a small commission from purchases made through those links, at no additional cost to you.


What is “Feeding” a Sourdough Starter? 

Within your sourdough starter culture are living colonies of yeast and lactic acid bacteria. As those beneficial microbes consume their “food” (in this case, carbohydrates in the flour), they ferment and convert those starches into CO2. This is what provides the natural airy rise in sourdough bread! Yet when they run out of food, the microbes get hungry, decrease in activity, and the sourdough starter becomes ineffective at providing rise. If left unfed and starving for too long, the colony of microbes may die completely. 

While bakers just say “feeding”, it is more than mixing in fresh food. The process of feeding a sourdough starter almost always involves discarding some of the existing starter before adding more flour and water. Removing some of their colony (and metabolic waste) while also providing a new food source helps keep things in balance. It also prevents you from collecting more starter than the storage container can handle! 

Looking for ways to use discarded starter? See our list of the 15 Best Sourdough Discard Recipes here, and 6 other clever ways to use discard here – besides cooking!

A picture shows a jar of sourdough starter on the left and a loaf of bread that has been cut in half on the right. It  depicts bacteria, yeast, and flour and what those items together provide for a baked loaf of bread which is acid, carbon dioxide and aromas.
The Science of Sourdough. Photo courtesy of Students Discover

How Much Sourdough Starter to Maintain

The volume or amount of sourdough starter you choose to keep and feed depends on how much you intend to bake. For example, if you wish to bake two or more loaves of bread at a time each weekend, each of those loaves will require a certain amount of starter.

Our basic sourdough bread recipe calls for about 100 grams of active starter. Therefore, you would need at least 200 grams, plus some left over to feed and keep the starter going. Never use all of your starter in a recipe! On the other hand, we only bake one loaf at a time. Thus, we can maintain a smaller amount of starter. 

Storage Container & Size

Store your sourdough starter in a container that has enough space for the starter itself, plus room for at least tripling in size while it is active. A glass container is a great choice. There are mixed opinions about whether or not it should have an air tight lid. The conclusion we’ve come to is this: it works both ways. However, you never want to leave your container completely open without some type of cover to prevent debris, dust, or fruit flies from getting in! Therefore, either keep a lid sitting loosely on top, or cover it with a coffee filter or lint-free, tight woven cloth. 

We keep our starter in a 1 liter (about 1 quart) flip-top glass container like this one. The seal is not perfectly air tight even when clamped closed, so it does allow for some gasses (and starter) to escape. If you want to maintain a larger starter, consider using a 2 liter or half-gallon container.

An image of a 1 liter flip top lid glass jar overflowing with bubbling sourdough starter. The lid is on the jar and it is still seeping out. The jar is sitting on a white ceramic plate where it help catches some of the active starter.  The background shows part of a greenish white pumpkin and a large monstera house plant whose leaves are dark and waxy.
Our very active sourdough starter, Apple. You have named your sourdough starter, right? Okay good.

Where to Store Your Sourdough Starter: Room Temperature or Refrigerator

When your are preparing your starter for baking, the ideal temperature to reach peak activity is around 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. But that doesn’t mean you have to keep it there all the time! Healthy sourdough starters can be stored either at room temperature, or in the refrigerator. Refrigerating a starter is a great choice for folks with busy schedules. It is also a perfect solution for vacation time away from home! For periods longer than a couple of weeks, a starter can be frozen. It will remain totally dormant until you thaw and feed it again.

Here are a few notable differences between a refrigerated and room temperature sourdough starter:


I was listening to “Science Friday” on NPR the other day, and the guest happened to be a master sourdough baker. I heard so many fascinating facts! One being, that sourdough starters will take on different flavor profiles depending on where they are stored – due to the types of yeast and lactic acid bacteria strains present in various environments. I knew this was true from home to home and city to city, but learned that it also depends on their storage temperature.

Apparently, a sourdough starter stored at room temperature will develop a more sharp, acidic “sour” flavor profile, while those stored in cooler conditions will give a more yogurt-like tangy taste. 

Another interesting tip this master baker suggested was to try to develop a consistent feeding schedule. For example, feeding at the same time each day or week. It seems that the yeast and lactic acid bacteria will become accustomed to their routine and even “know” how much time and food they have to live on before the next feeding – and naturally pace themselves accordingly. Smart little buggers!

How often should I feed my sourdough starter?

If you bake frequently or have the free time to tend to your starter daily, you can store the starter on your countertop. Yet when stored at room temperature, the sourdough starter will remain very active and will need to be fed daily. Some serious bakers feed theirs twice per day!

On the other hand, sourdough starters that are kept in the refrigerator only need to be fed about once per week. The cooler temperatures keeps the microbes alive but less active, so they don’t need to be fed as often. This is a great option for folks who only bake periodically (like we do, just a few times per month).

Sometimes we go longer and leave several weeks between feeding our refrigerated starter – and it does just fine! Heck, we’ve even left it for a couple months… though I don’t necessarily recommend that. A healthy, established starter can survive a little neglect. However, the longer you go between feedings, the more sluggish the starter may be when it comes times to bake, so you’ll likely need to feed it a couple times (as opposed to just once) before use.

Also note that a harmless layer of dark liquid called “hooch” will develop over time. Read more about that below. Not sure if your neglected starter is still good? As long as it doesn’t have visible fuzzy mold and perks up after a feeding, it’s fine to use! Check out this guide for more tips: Is My Sourdough Starter Bad? How to Revive Old Inactive Starter

Okay, now that we have gotten all that feeding foreplay out of the way… the big moment has arrived. Let’s get ready to feed that damn thing.


Preparing to Feed 

Warm up: If you choose to keep your sourdough starter in the refrigerator, allow it to wake up and warm to room temperature before feeding. We generally take ours out of the fridge the night before we start a day of feeding and baking, or in the morning and begin feeding later that day. 

Discard a portion: Whether your starter has been out on the counter, bubbling and active, or stored in the refrigerator in a more dormant state, you need to discard a portion of the active sourdough starter before feeding. How much you discard depends on how much you are going to feed it, as explained below. 

To discard, first stir the starter to knock out any air. Then slowly remove little by little from the container until the desired amount is left behind. We simply scoop globs out into a separate bowl to either feed to the chickens, make discarded sourdough starter crackers, or to compost. 

After a portion is discarded, it is time to stir in fresh flour and water!

How to Feed a Sourdough Starter Using Weight:

Some bakers prefer to feed the starter by weight. Some even swear it is the only way to go! Admittedly, it is the most precise and consistent way to feed a sourdough starter, since various flours have different weights and volumes. To feed a sourdough starter using weight, simply combine equal parts starter, flour, and water. For example, 100 grams of each. Or for a larger starter, 200 grams of each. 

With this method, it is very helpful to know the empty weight of your starter storage container. That makes it easy to determine how much starter you have left after discarding. Obviously, you’ll also need a kitchen scale.

To be honest, we don’t weigh ingredients when we feed anymore. It is important to weigh things when you’re first creating your sourdough starter. Or, when you are combining flour and water to make the dough for a loaf of bread. Yet on an ongoing basis, we found it too much of a hassle to get out the scale every time we had to feed. Instead, we use a combination of traditional cup measurements and a pinch of good old “eyeballing it”.

How to Feed a Sourdough Starter Using Volume Measurements:

To feed a sourdough starter using conventional volume measurements, simply combine 1 part leftover sourdough starter, 1 part part water, and just under 2 parts flour. For example, 1 cup starter, 1 cup water, and nearly 2 cups of flour. In our kitchen, we add 1 scant cup flour and 1/2 cup of filtered water to the approximately ½ cup to ¾ cup starter that is left in its storage container after discarding. Again, we only ever bake one loaf at a time, so this modest amount is perfect for us.

If you like this method, try this nifty trick: measure the exact amount of starter one time, and take visual note of how much that fills your starter storage container. Our usual half to three-quarter cup starter fills its container up to about a knuckle or inch deep. Nowadays, I just eyeball the volume of starter, eliminating one extra step in measuring.

Two part image collage, the first image is a birds eye view, it shows a flip top lid glass jar next to a white ceramic bowl with a blue spatula sitting inside it. Both of the containers contain sourdough starter which is milky white to slight brown in color. The second image shows the flip top glass container from the side with the starter  only filling the container about one inch deep. A finger is pointed downward, touching the ground next to the container showing the starter depth in relation to a finger.
After discarding (top photo) I know we have our usual amount left once it is just over a knuckle deep for me (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup). Yes, I used a clean container for this photo shoot. Ours is usually much more messy!

Now Feed

Add the appropriate amount of flour and water in with your starter and stir thoroughly, eliminating flour clumps. We do this right in the starter storage container. However, some bakers choose to take everything out into a separate bowl, mix it together, and then put it back or into a fresh container. That’s your call!

A four part image collage, the first image shows the sourdough starter in the glass container, a measuring cup of flour is held suspended over the jar which will be added to the container. The second image shows the jar with the starter and flour inside and a glass measuring cup suspended over the top, pouring water into the container. The third image shows a hand holding a blue spatula, stirring the starter, flour, and water together. The final image is the container after all of the ingredients have been stirred together, the lid is now pulled closed on top of the jar.
The process of feeding by volume. 1/2 to 3/4 cup starter, 1/2 cup tepid water, and 1 scant cup flour. I like mixing right in the container with a little rubber spatula, which makes it easy to clean up the sides. The fed starter will now sit at room temperature, rise, and probably overflow from the container within a few hours!

What Type of Flour & Water to Feed Sourdough Starter


When feeding a sourdough starter, it is ideal to use room temperature to slightly warm water. This is particularly true if your household is on the cool side, and you’re trying to ready the starter for baking soon. If cold water is added to the mixture, it will slow down the activity of the microbes and take longer to get active. We sometimes microwave the water for a quick 30 seconds when we don’t have time to let it sit out. Don’t add hot water though! Just lukewarm.

Additionally, use filtered or otherwise non-chlorinated water for all of your sourdough (and other fermenting!) adventures when possible. Chlorine may inhibit the growth of our friendly bacteria and generally throw things off. We simply run our water through a basic carbon filter (the fridge dispenser) and everything turns out just fine. Another option is to let a container of water sit out on the counter for 12 to 24 hours and allow the chlorine to dissipate.


The type of flour you use to feed your sourdough starter is up to you! There are many options available. Experiment and see what types of results you get. One popular choice is white-all purpose flour. We prefer to use organic bread flour for the “white” flour portion of our starter and dough. Bread flour has a slightly higher protein content than white flour and therefore stronger structure.  

When feeding our starter, we oftentimes use half bread flour and either whole wheat or rye flour for the other half. Whole wheat and rye are known to quickly increase the activity and rise of the starter due to their higher nutrient content. It is also possible to maintain a sourdough starter using einkorn flour, or non-wheat flours like brown rice flour.

Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter Flours

If you’re here from our gluten-free sourdough starter tutorial – don’t worry, I didn’t forget about you! We created our original gluten-free sourdough starter using brown rice flour. Most often, that is what we feed it. However, feel free to experiment with feeding your gluten-free starter with any combination of brown rice, white rice, sweet rice, or buckwheat flours. They all do very well at keeping a starter active and happy! However, I do not suggest using a GF 1-1 baking or all-purpose flour to maintain your starter. I find the extra additives found in those flour mixes make the starter a little funky, and not in a good way…

A birds eye view, there is a bag of King Arthur Flour Organic Bread Flour facing upwards next to a glass container that contains bubbly sourdough starter, on the other side of the jar is a bag of Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Flour. They are all sitting on a dark barn wood surface.
The flours we use most, both to feed our sourdough starter and to bake bread with. King Arthur Bread Flour and Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat.

Getting Your Starter Ready for Baking

Most sourdough recipes call for sourdough starter to be “active” or added at “peak activity”. So what does that mean exactly? A sourdough starter is considered at peak activity when it is super expanded and bubbly. It has at least doubled in size or more, is no longer growing, but has not yet started to fall back down or deflate. 

The time it takes your starter to reach peak activity after feeding depends on numerous factors. These include: what and how it was fed, the ambient temperature it is being stored at, and how vigorous and established the starter is in general. Warmer temperatures will increase activity, and cooler temperatures will slow it. 

If your starter has been stored at room temperature, reaching peak activity should be a breeze. It peaks every day. For those of us that store our starters in the refrigerator, it takes some planning in advance to get ready for baking. When we intend to bake in the next day or two, we pull the resting sourdough starter out of the fridge and put it on the counter, allowing it to warm up. Then we feed it at least twice prior to using it in a recipe to achieve peak activity.  

For gluten-free sourdough starters, I find that they peak and fall more quickly than our wheat starter. Therefore, keep a closer eye on it and be ready to use it right before or as it starts to deflate!

Our sourdough starter, at peak. It rose all the way to the lid of the container, and didn’t fall back down right away when the lid was opened.
Our gluten-free sourdough starter, at peak. It doesn’t usually overflow quick like the wheat starter does. But it has risen significantly, stopped rising, and even started to fall back down just a tad. Here, we are storing the starter in the oven with the oven OFF and oven light on, creating a nice warm environment on a cool winter day.

You will develop your own feeding and baking schedule with time.

Here is a summary of our usual routine: Say we want to bake a loaf on Saturday morning. We take the starter out of the fridge on Thursday evening, let it sit overnight to warm up, then feed it once on Friday morning and again early Friday afternoon. Ideally, it should get its last feeding at least three to four hours before you want to start making dough. We make dough that evening, proof overnight in the fridge, and bake Saturday morning. 

What to do after removing a portion of your sourdough starter to bake with:

After you pull off some starter to use in a recipe, you have few different options of what to do with it next – and every way works! An established sourdough starter is pretty forgiving.

  1. You could feed your starter once again (add flour and water, but don’t discard any since you essentially just did that to use in a recipe) and let it sit out for an hour or two to “eat” at room temperature. Then, put it back in the fridge – assuming that is where you’re storing it.
  2. You could also feed the starter and put it right back in the refrigerator as soon as you’re done with it. It will still eat at cooler temperatures, just more slowly.
  3. Finally, sometimes we put our starter back in the fridge right after use (so at peak activity, or just after) without feeding it again that day. Keep in mind this may leave you a little short in volume the next time you take it out to use though. Then, you may want to add flour and water but not discard any the following baking session when waking it up.

A loaf of crusty sourdough bread is shown. The center contains a deep score that has created a large ear whose edges are dark and crusty. Other score marks resemble that of a plant or stalk of wheat while some white flour remains encrusted on the outside of the loaf.

What is that dark liquid on the top of my sourdough starter?

This, my friends, is a sign that you haven’t been keeping up with your starters feeding schedule to its liking. The thin layer of dark liquid that sometimes forms on top of sourdough starter is called hooch. It is an indication that your starter is more active than you’ve been feeding it, has run out of food, and is hungry for more. More than hungry… It is Hangry. 

But don’t worry, it is an easy fix and not at all harmful! Hooch is a naturally-occurring fermentation byproduct (alcohol) created by the hungry yeast and bacteria. It smells quite acidic like vinegar. When encountered, you can either pour the hooch off the top or simply mix it back in, then discard and feed as usual. But do take it as a sign that your feeding schedule may need to be modified. Our starter often develops hooch when we skip a week of feeding. 

If it’s been several months since you’ve fed your starter, please see this guide to get back on track: Is My Sourdough Starter Bad? How to Revive Old Inactive Starter

An extreme example of hooch. During our recent move, we didn’t have time to bake (and therefore ignored our starter) for two to three months. This was the result: a VERY hungry, hoochie sourdough starter. Since it was SO acidic we poured the hooch off (rather than mixing it back in), then scooped out a half cup of the starter, mixed it with a scant cup of flour and half cup of water in a new fresh container, and it was overflowing with activity by the next day! It did take about 24 hours to become fully active though, as opposed to it’s usual 3-6 hours, so we fed it another time before use to really make her happy.
Again, hooch is totally normal and nothing to fear. As ugly as this sourdough starter looks, it was still good to use after feeding! Note there is no mold inside or on top either. (The white stuff on the inside of the jar is just old crusty starter we hadn’t wiped off).

What if my sourdough starter is bubbling, but not rising?

If your sourdough starter is bubbling but doesn’t rise within a few hours of being fed, the mixture may be too wet or runny. Varying home humidities and flour types can lead to different consistencies. When a starter is too wet and thin, the fermentation bubbles may rise right through and out of the mixture. Ideally, the air bubbles should be mostly trapped inside the starter – causing it to puff up and become spongy. To fix this, simply stir in more flour to thicken it up. Add just a couple tablespoons at a time until the starter is the desired consistency – somewhere in between pancake batter and thick, stiff dough.

Now you know how to feed your sourdough starter. Don’t make it hangry!

I hope you found this article useful and interesting. Now that you know how to maintain your sourdough stater, get to baking! Nothing beats crusty, chewy, homemade sourdough bread. Check out our simple sourdough recipes:

Stay tuned for more sourdough recipes to come! Thank you for reading. Please feel free to ask questions, and spread the sourdough love by sharing this post.

Print Recipe Pin Recipe
4.77 from 21 votes

How to Feed Sourdough Starter

Learn how to feed your sourdough starter to keep it healthy and happy! Here are instructions on how to feed starter by weight, or by volume measurements. Included are tips on how often to feed it, flour options, and also the importance of temperature.
Keyword: Feed sourdough starter, Sourdough Starter


Feeding Starter by Weight (1:1:1)

  • 100 grams sourdough starter
  • 100 grams water (room temperature to lukewarm, and non-chlorinated filtered water recommended)
  • 100 grams flour *Note that using whole wheat or rye flour (instead of white) can help increase starter activity.

Feeding Starter by Volume (1:1:2)

  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter
  • 1/2 cup water (room temperature to lukewarm, and non-chlorinated filtered water recommended)
  • 1 cup (scant, just under a cup) flour
  • *Scale up as needed to maintain a larger starter. Simply keep similar ratios


  • The act of "feeding" your sourdough starter is simply adding more fresh flour and water to an existing starter. This may be after you take some of your starter to use in a recipe, in order to build its volume back up. Or, in order to activate a dormant starter to prepare it for baking (to reach "peak activity), you need to discard a portion of it and then add fresh flour and water – aka, feed it.
  • Starters need routine feeding to stay alive. Even if you aren't actively baking, you'll need to feed your sourdough starter on occasion. The frequency depends on how you store it. Starters that are stored in a refrigerator can be fed every couple of weeks (or even up to every couple of months, once mature and established). On the other hand, starters stored at room temperature must be fed every day or every other day.
  • Where you feed your starter is up to you. Some bakers dump their starter, fresh flour and water in a clean bowl to mix/feed it every time, and then transfer it to a clean container. Others simply mix more flour and water into the same container the starter is already living in. Either way, I suggest to keep the sides of your stater container fairly clean, and change it out or wash it on occasion. Built-up gunk on the sides of the container can more easily lead to mold.

Preparing to Feed

  • Warm up: If you choose to keep your sourdough starter in the refrigerator, allow it to warm to room temperature for several hours before feeding. We generally take ours out of the fridge the night before we want to make sourdough, then feed it in the morning. Avoid adding cold water, which will also slow it down.
  • Discard a portion: Stir to knock out any air, and then remove some starter from its container. Leave enough behind (amounts described below) to mix with fresh flour and water. Use the "discarded" starter in a recipe, feed it to your chickens, or compost it.
  • Now, add more fresh flour and water to the remaining starter, either following the "weight" or "volume" instructions below

How to Feed Sourdough Starter by Weight

  • To feed a sourdough starter using weight, simply combine equal parts existing starter, flour, and water. For example, 100 grams of each. Or for a larger starter, 200 grams of each. 
  • It's very helpful to know the empty weight of your starter storage container, so it's easy to determine how much starter you have left after discarding. You will need a kitchen scale.

How to Feed Sourdough Starter by Volume

  • To feed a sourdough starter using conventional volume measurements, simply combine 1 part leftover sourdough starter, 1 part part water, and just under 2 parts flour. For example, 1 cup starter, 1 cup water, and nearly 2 cups of flour. (The ratios are different with this method because water weighs more than flour.)
  • In our kitchen, we maintain a fairly small container of starter. Therefore, our routine feeding is: add 1 scant cup flour and 1/2 cup of filtered water to approximately ½ cup to ¾ cup starter left in its storage container after discarding. Honestly, we eyeball/estimate the amount of starter left in the container, rather than taking it out to measure.

Notes on Temperatures

  • When your are preparing your starter for baking, the ideal temperature to reach peak activity is around 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold conditions slow down microbial activity and make starters less active.

DeannaCat signature, keep on growing


  • Belle Kozubowski

    Hi Deanna!

    I absolutely love the starter I ordered from y’all about a year ago, after rehydrating I’ve been using it consistently and loooooving it! I was wondering–do you know how old the starter is that you sell? I know some starters are hundreds of years old so I’m curious if you know! Thank you for your sourdough wisdom and recipes<3

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Belle, thank you so much for your order! Our “shop starter” is from the original batch of sourdough starter that we made from scratch in early 2018, not quite 100 years old or some other interesting story about the origin though, haha. Needless to say, it works well and we are glad you are enjoying baking with sourdough!

  • Jen

    First thing, I love your website!

    I have followed your directions feeding my starter, feeding twice. It hasn’t bubbled or risen. What am I doing wrong?

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Jen, we are so glad you enjoy the website and we appreciate your support! I guess to answer your question, I would first ask what condition was your sourdough starter in before you fed it? Is this a starter that was just made or is it a starter that is old and inactive? Does your starter have a tangy smell which would indicate that it is active? If you have fed it twice, I would leave it for now and see if it rises over the next 12 hours or so. If it is an old starter, check out this article, Is My Sourdough Starter Bad? How to Revive Old Inactive Starter. Hope that helps for now and reach out if you can clarify a few things that may help us get you on your way.

  • FSethman

    4 stars
    Growing up, we always had a starter and made bread weekly. I’m just starting the process of perhaps doing sourdough bread. What is the part I need to read and follow, for an absolute beginning sourdough starter bread? Thanks!

  • Stephanie Lehto

    I have my starter in my fridge. But I don’t want to bake with it for a while. Do I still need to take it out and feed it once a week? And if so, do I need to let it come to room temp before I feed it?

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Stephanie, you don’t need to feed your starter every week if you aren’t going to be baking but are still keeping it in the fridge. We do find the starter will get lethargic and won’t be as active if left unfed for longer periods of time (3-4 weeks) but we do try and take the starter out the night before feeding as it will usually speed up the process slightly as opposed to feeding a cold starter. Hope that helps and reach out if you have any other questions.

  • Ellie

    Okay, so I have successfully reactivated a dehydrated starter that was given to me by a friend. And I am not ready to bake *quite* yet. So I followed the maintenance instructions 1:1:1 starter:flour:water. Do I put it in the fridge directly after mixing? Or leave it out a bit before refrigerating? Thanks, I enjoy your instructions, everything has been so helpful!

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Ellie, if you don’t want to bake the same day you fed the starter that ratio, we would wait until it becomes fully active, before discarding whatever amount you want to leave in the container (we typically leave close to an inch of starter in the bottom of a liter or quart jar). The next time you want to make dough, take the starter out the night before and the following day feed it a scant cup flour and 1/2 cup water (give or take), once it’s fully active you are now ready to use it in dough. Hope that helps and have fun baking.

      • Kelly

        5 stars
        This is so confusing to me and I can’t ever get a simple answer. I have a large amount of starter in my fridge. I want to feed it and put it back in the fridge. I also want to bake with it. How do I do this? Do I feed it and put it back for a few days and then take out what I need, or do I take it out and leave it at room temperature, take out what I need, feed the rest and store it? I habe no idea what I’m doing.

        • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

          Hi Kelly, are you confused by our post? If you want to store your starter in the fridge when you aren’t using it for baking, keep it in the fridge. When you want to make bread or some other baked good with sourdough, take the starter out of the refrigerator the night before and leave it on your counter. The next day, discard the desired amount of starter that is in the jar and compost it or use it in a sourdough discard recipe. Feed the remaining starter the flour/water ratio mentioned in this post, wait until the starter is fully active, likely reaching the top of the jar (could take 2-6 hours depending on how active your starter is). Once the starter is fully active, take out the amount needed for the recipe and put your starter container back in the fridge unless you are going to be using it to bake more that day or the next day. Hope that helps and good luck!

  • Sarah

    Is it normal for your sourdough starter to pass the float test but not necessarily double in size? It’ll increase by maybe 1/3rd

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      We haven’t tried that specific instance out but to get your starter more active, try and keep the room temperature the starter is in around 70-75 F. It can really slow down the starter activity if it gets cooler than that. The consistency of the starter may also play a role in the rise of the active starter, we find that a starter that is not too wet or too stiff to be the optimal consistency to active sourdough starter. Hope that helps and have fun baking!

  • Sarah

    I have a question about sourdough starters (as a noob!) that I have yet to find anywhere. I’ve had a rough go trying to figure out my sourdough starter but it’s finally becoming active. What I can’t figure out is this: so in the beginning I would have around 100 grams of sourdough starter, would add 100 grams of flour and 100 grams of water. It wouldn’t grow much so it would end up being around 200 grams the next day when I went to feed it. So I would discard half and be left with 100 grams of starter and would continue the 1:1:1 ratio by adding 100 grams of flour and 100 grams of water.

    Now, each day the sourdough starter is a different weight. Some days it’s up to 400 grams – on those days, discarding half would make it so that I’m left with 200 grams of sourdough starter. So I’m assuming on those days I feed it 200 grams of flour and 200 grams of water to continue with the 1:1:1 ratio? I’m just wondering if this will slow down the activity by feeding it a different amount each day. On the other hand, every recipe I’ve seen has said something like “discard half and then add 100 grams of flour and 100 grams of water to feed it” but if you have 500 grams of sourdough starter at that point, discarding half would leave you with 250 grams of sourdough starter. Therefore, feeding it with only 100 grams of flour and 100 grams of water would make it uneven and no longer a 1:1:1 ratio. Is it normal to feed it a different amount each day? Thanks in advance!

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Sarah, I appreciate your precision when working with sourdough and baking but we try not to overthink it. We actually don’t even weigh our flour, water or starter anymore as we have found that around 1 scant cup of flour and 1/2 cup water is more or less the same weight. We also discard the starter until there is about an inch or so in the bottom of a liter sized jar before feeding it the scant cup flour and 1/2 cup water. From there, we sometimes have to add a little more water to get it the texture/consistency we like. Hope that helps some and good luck!

      • Maria Bonner

        5 stars
        First off, thank you!!!! This has been the best best best written out instructions I have found regarding refrigerating and preparing your started to bake! I feel a little less overwhelmed haha!

        Secondly, when you take is your starter out say on a Thursday night (to bake on a Saturday) and then feed twice Friday.. what approximate times do you feed on Friday til you’re ready to bake? Does it not have to be atleast 12 hours apart? (Very new here)

        • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

          Hi Maria, glad to hear the article made you feel less overwhelmed about baking with sourdough, it seems a lot more difficult than it actually is. As far as your question goes, it really depends on how active your starter is or how often you have used it. If we haven’t baked in a couple weeks, we will typically feed the starter twice (sometimes even the night before we are going to make our dough, just to get it started). However, if you have just recently used your starter or just finished fully activating a dry starter, you may be able to get away with one feeding before you use the starter in the dough.

          As far as time goes for feeding, it doesn’t have to be 12 hours apart, usually we will feed the starter and once it is fully active and to the top of the jar, it is ready to use. Our starter will usually be fully active within 3-4 hours of feeding, so if we are going to make the dough around 4 pm, we will typically feed the starter by around noon. If you want to feed it twice, feed it once in the morning around 8-9 am and it should be ready to discard around midday for a second feeding. Hope that helps and didn’t make things more confusing for you. Ask any other questions you may have and have fun baking with sourdough!

  • Barb

    5 stars
    I am so excited to have Yeasty Boys double over night. This is the first time I have made sourdough starter and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It was lethargic the first day but I had the oven on for roasting root veggies and was cooking on the stove, which raised the air temberature a bit above 75 degrees. And BOOM! starter vigorous growth. My starter is GF, I used rice flour and I grow organic Ana and Golden Dorset apples and used one of each, small size. For the loaf I plan to use half buckwheat and maybe some sorghum or millet. Thanks you so much, I love your site and all your wonderful ideas – plus your easy going and fun writing style

  • Danielle

    I’m noticing that my dough is rising slightly, but not doubling. The texture and scent seem right on, but is this not considered “active” of it hasn’t doubled?

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Danielle, an active starter will typically double in size before it is considered “active”. We keep our starter in a quart container and after we feed it, it is close to or just under half full, it typically reaches the top of the jar before we use it in a recipe. If you aren’t getting enough activity in your starter, I would focus on the temperature, it is best to be close to 70-75 degrees F for optimal conditions. Maybe try placing it in the oven with the light on, but the oven off will make it more active as it is usually warmer than the countertop. Adding part whole wheat flour in your feeding may also help kick start the starter to become more active. Also, if your starter is too runny or watery, it won’t rise as much or stay risen for as long. Hope that helps and good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating