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How to NOT Kill Your Sourdough Starter

March 29, 2019

How to NOT Kill Your Sourdough Starter

I LOVE sourdough bread. It’s super tasty, and for some reason, something about the whole fermentation / no yeast thing is just so fascinating to me. My amazing friend Karlee Gendron gave me a sourdough starter last summer, and after a few terrible tries on my part, I finally started figuring it out… so when she shared this recipe with me, I wanted to spread it around.

(I also recommend checking out my article on DIY Fermentation on Outside mag for some toppings you can make for this bread, like kimchi or pickled radishes. SO good!)

OK, back to sourdough: That same bacteria that’s in yogurt — lactobacilli — combines with yeast and activates, beginning to consume the flour and creating those air bubbles that make sourdough so freaking tasty, while the bacteria also means that even gluten-intolerant people can sometimes happily enjoy sourdough. But because it’s so simple, only requiring flour, water and salt to bake.

It’s not that sourdough bread baking is super difficult once you master it, Karlee says. It’s just a very precision-based recipe that requires a bit of practice, and maybe a round of two of rock-solid bread before you figure it out. That’s why she highly recommends measuring ingredients on a food scale — sourdough is the only time she’s this precise.


Taking care of your sourdough starter:

It’s like having a very chill pet. There’s some care involved, though:

  • If you are going to bake every week: Feed your sourdough starter with equal parts flour and water daily, and double feed (feed once in the morning and once at night) the day before you make your leaven.
  • If you are only going to bake casually: Feed starter one time per week and store in the fridge.
  • Take the starter out of the fridge three days before baking, feed as per above prior to baking.




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