Look! It’s bubbling! This is a view of my sourdough after the initial 48 hours. (Let’s just not think about how much bacteria is in the air at my house….)
After you get through the process of feeding your sourdough starter, it’s ready to make bread or any other recipe you might desire. In fact, some of my favorite sourdough recipes are not bread at all! There is a Sourdough Banana-nut Cake recipe that I LOVE from a Hobby Farm Home issue. There’s yummy sourdough pancakes with chocolate chips, sourdough biscuits and sourdough pizza! Then there’s the beloved recipe coming on Friday….
Now that your sourdough is ready to use, you’ll need to maintain it. Although it’s pretty darn resilient, it can be killed. I know…I’ve done it. (Aren’t you just dying to see the photo of my nasty, neglected, moldy sourdough starter? I’ll spare you.)
If you don’t bake bread every day (and let’s be honest, who does?), you’ll need to store your starter in the refrigerator between uses. The night before you want to use it, get your starter out of the fridge and dump the contents into a clean glass bowl or jar. Feed the starter with equal parts flour and water, and allow to sit out overnight at room temperature (covered with cheesecloth or a tea towel). The next morning, get on with your baking!
Be sure to put one cup of the starter into a clean jar to save for the next batch, feeding it with—yes, you guessed it—one cup each of flour and water. Let the jar sit on the counter until it starts to bubble again (this won’t take long if your starter is healthy…just an hour or so). Then put it back in the fridge, covered with cheesecloth, for the next time you’re ready to use it.
If it’s been a week or two and I haven’t used my starter for anything, I go ahead and do the feeding-letting sit out-process anyway, to keep it active. Just don’t neglect it too long, or you end up with that nasty moldy stuff. And if you take good care of your sourdough starter, you’ll be able use it for many months and years to come!