How much flour/water to feed my starter?


Hi!  I'm a sourdough newbie.  I ordered Carl's Sourdough starter online and got my starter going 3 days ago.  I started with 1/4 cup each of water and flour (plus 2 tablespoons), plus the dried starter.  I feed twice a day and keep my starter in a 12-cup glass container.  The starter's doing really well.  My only question is this...I'm not sure how much to feed my starter.  It's grown quite a bit...I believe I have about 4 cups now.  I haven't discarded much starter because, well, won't I need at least 4 cups of starter at all times for recipes?  So, I guess I don't know how much of the starter to throw away and how much flour and water to continue adding.  If I throw away a cup of starter, does that mean I need to add 1/2 cup each of water and flour?   


Also, how long should I let my starter sit out (days?  Weeks?) before refrigerating it, for the best taste?



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gingerbreadgirl's picture
gingerbreadgirl 2010 May 8

Hi there

I assume it is a wheat starter?  If it is a wheat starter, just save a cup of it, put it in an air tight container and keep it in the fridge.  This container can be glass - like a glass jar.  When you want to use it, take it out at least 24 hrs before you want it, pour it into a bowl, add 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of warm water, cover it with plastic wrap and leave it out of the fridge for 12-24 hrs (until it is really bubbling away).  Then, remember to take a cup out to put back in the fridge for another day and use what you have (which will be just over 2 cups of sour dough).  The container in which you refresh the dough cannot be an air tight glass jar - it might just explode!  If you are using glass to refresh your sour dough, either cover it in plastic wrap during the refreshment or put a plate on top of the container.  Alternatively, use a tupperware.

So, right now you can take a cup of the starter you have made and put it in an airtight container to use in the future and start playing around with the rest. 

I have a sour dough from 1857 which often lays around in the fridge for over a year with no refreshment.  When I want it, I take it out and "feed it" as above and it always springs back to life.


I hope that helps.

Flour_Child 2010 May 8

Thanks!!  It's actually a white flour starter.  So I guess my question now is - since I have about 4 cups of starter - if I take out 1 cup and add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of flour, will that 'maintain' the starter at 4 cups or do I need to add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour instead?  Is this enough to "feed" 4 cups of starter?

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