Advanced search

Calling sourdough starter experts!

(407 Posts)
stclair Sat 28-Mar-20 19:17:54

As I can’t find yeast for love nor money, I’m on day 3 of a sourdough starter (from bbcgoodfood recipe). What I am confused about is the pouring off of half the starter when ready to bake. Is this to be used to add more flour and water to keep the starter going? Otherwise It seems wasteful! If it isn’t, why pour it away?

sulkysukey Sat 28-Mar-20 19:36:02

I'm following instructions from watching @cheftomhunt on IG - just started mine, but he's keen on no waste and his method seems to be not pouring off half (unless it's not active enough in which case you don't throw half away but use it for something like sourdough pancakes)... I'm just starting but following him as someone on Twitter shared a pic of an amazing looking sourdough she'd made by following his instruction so fingers crossed.

Cohle Sat 28-Mar-20 19:37:59

Once the starter is established you can use the discard for baking. At the moment, when you're first making the starter it won't have enough yeast to be very effective in baking so all you really can do is throw it away. But it's very efficient once you have the starter "up and running".

stclair Sat 28-Mar-20 20:22:38

Ah, thank you both. So, the recipe I’m using is feed daily for 5 days. So when it’s nice and bubbly, pour off half, keep feeding that and use the other half for a loaf?

Marmighty Sun 29-Mar-20 15:14:30

Follow Brickhouse Bread on IG. He's done a step by step over the last week or so with lots of photos so it's easy to see if you're on the right track. There is quite a lot of waste in the beginning, before you get into a routine of how often you bake bread. Once established starter is good for pancakes and other things

Knowhowufeel2 Tue 31-Mar-20 02:15:59

Until established/stable and any nasty bacteria, etc, have been pushed out by the ones you want, it's best to throw away what you decant off.
Once established and regularly rising and falling between feedings, you can use what you decant off to make bread.

This webpage explains it well and gives a recipe for you to try too.

Knowhowufeel2 Tue 31-Mar-20 02:19:58

Once established if you're not going to be baking with it daily it can be kept in the fridge, which means it needs feeding less often.

My starter is 7 years old and still going strong, even though I've had phases when I've neglected it 😔. It's very forgiving.

It's also worth freezing some just in case you do manage to kill it off as you can bring it back to life from your frozen stock.

ItsNotAboutTheChocolate Tue 31-Mar-20 10:02:45


This would be absolutely fantastic if so. Apologies for being slow here

Flibbertyjibbit Tue 31-Mar-20 10:16:39

I follow Kat Goldin on Instagram. She's got lots of sourdough advice in her saved stories from starters to sourdough loaf to sourdough cinnamon rolls.

@ItsNotAboutTheChocolate yes it's amazing what you can make with just flour, water and a bit of salt grin

sulkysukey Tue 31-Mar-20 11:50:43

Mine is looking pretty good after 2-3 days - small bubbles all through it, risen really well and smells like delicious white wine! Is 2-3 days too early to use it? When do I know it's ready? I'm finding it quite exciting!

ItsNotAboutTheChocolate Wed 01-Apr-20 08:39:27

yes it's amazing what you can make with just flour, water and a bit of salt


So excited! Thank you lovely clever MNetters. Can't wait to get started.

Lougle Wed 01-Apr-20 08:44:37

Why can't you pour the part that you would throw away into a second jar and feed them both?

raspberryrippleicecream Wed 01-Apr-20 10:58:18

I follow Andrew Whitley's method and he never throws anything away!

stclair Wed 01-Apr-20 20:18:13

Thanks for all the great advice!! It was day 5 two days ago and had a lot of small bubbles going on. But, the picture I’m going by is a geyser of a starter with massive bubbles so I thought mine needed more time. Poured half off yesterday and fed it, and today no bubbles at all. It’s not happy with me.

FuckThisWind Wed 01-Apr-20 20:34:28

@Lougle that's what I've been doing and I'm on day 4. I'll let you know what they are both looking like tomorrow.

LtGreggs Wed 01-Apr-20 20:38:30

I'm on day 5 of mine (following BBC good food) and nothing appears to be happening to it. But, I think my kitchen is quite cold. I'm hoping that if I just leave it a day or two more it will come along??

Deux Wed 01-Apr-20 20:39:01

What type of flour are you all using for your starter? I keep reading different opinions and don’t hold out much hope of getting something like organic rye flour.

stclair Wed 01-Apr-20 20:49:01

I’m using white strong flour. According to the bbcgoodfood recipe I’m using I am supposed to leave half the bowl uncovered. This meant it always formed a crust and I couldn’t see how active it was underneath! Yesterday I covered it completely and now there is no crust but no bubbles either.

cloudspotter Wed 01-Apr-20 21:03:43

I've finally managed to get a starter working this week - but I had to persevere for three weeks to get it working. It went through various stages - after a week it smelled strongly of vomit!

It went through a mouldy cheese smell like parmesan, then yoghurt, strongly if nakt vinegar and finally smelled like a brewery when it was ready. It also bubbled up a lot more once it was finally ready.

The best test if it's ready is called the glass of water test. To put it simply, you put a blob of the starter in a glass of water, and if it floats it's ready.

Throwing it away feeks wasteful at this time of shortage, but I think you can cut down to 50g/50ml rather than the 100g/100ml that's recommended in most recipes.

msmith501 Wed 01-Apr-20 21:09:54

I've been keeping a Sourdough starter going for over a year with using half, feeding half.... using half, feeding half etc. Today's bread (not a sourdough) attached.... it got a bit large!

cloudspotter Wed 01-Apr-20 21:18:03

PS this is what I managed to bake this morning after three weeks of persistence.

I would recommend a couple of YouTubers whose videos were recommended to me and were really helpful.

Joshua Weissman - for the simple help on sourdough starter
Foodgeek - for the simplest way to make actual bread once you've got the starter.

Can you tell this became an obsession a labour of love?

Tashtegotoo Wed 01-Apr-20 22:18:07

I have a couple of sachets of sour dough yeast culture that I've not got round to using yet. Do you think I could use one to start my own sour dough starter rather than just making one loaf of bread and then that's it?
The ingrdients are listed as: dried yeast, dextrose, freeze-dried lactic acid bacteria
I have a 20kg bag of baker's flour (that's all the supermarket had on offer) but not enough yeast.

stclair Thu 02-Apr-20 09:49:46

Wow, those loaves look fantastic! Ok, I shall persevere. You’ve spurred me on!

MIgZig Sat 04-Apr-20 07:27:25

I've been sourdoughing for a couple of months now. I used a BBC starter recipe that called for organic yoghurt. Here's this morning's efforts.

orangina Sat 04-Apr-20 22:38:47

cloudspotter, I have been trying to make a sourdough starter and each time I have got a good bubbly 'active' substance, but by day 3 or 4, it smells terrible (like baby vomit) and I end up throwing it away as my family object so much (I have lost my sense of smell recently, so am reliant on the family telling HOW HORRIBLE it smells...).

Are you saying I just need to persevere and get past the vomit stage? I have just thrown another one down the drain as I couldn't seem to rescue it. I have fed the second starter more regularly (twice a day) in an effort to get past the vomit, but it wasn't working.

Any advice? Anyone?

Thank you!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »