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How to Activate Sourdough Starter

Make delicious sourdough bread and other baked goods at home using an established sourdough starter. It's so easy!

 

Before You Begin

Our sourdough starters are sold in a dehydrated state so that they are shelf-stable and safe for shipping. Store the dehydrated culture in a cool, dry place until ready to activate.

NOTE: Since this video was produced we've made some changes to our instructions on activating a sourdough starter. For best results, please follow the instructions included with your sourdough starter culture. Below the video you'll find both the original and newer methodolgy for activating the starter culture. The methodology you use to activate and care for your starter is completely up to you based on what you find easiest for your lifestyle. With that said, sourdough is a very forgiving culture and one of the easiest to work with, so we are confident that you will be successful despite which methodology you choose. If you have any concerns regarding your starter culture feel free to reach out - we're here to help!

Gluten-free Brown Rice Sourdough Starter requires slightly different ingredient ratios and feeding schedules. Please refer to the instructions included with your sourdough starter for best results.

 

 

 

Activating the Sourdough Starter

 

Equipment Needed for Activating a Sourdough Starter:

  • Quart-size glass jar
  • Non-metal stirring utensil
  • Tight-weave cloth or paper coffee filter 
  • Rubber band to secure the cover to the jar

 

Ingredients for Activating a Sourdough Starter:

  • 1 packet dehydrated sourdough starter
  • Unchlorinated, unfluoridated water
  • Appropriate flour for your sourdough starter (check enclosed instructions)

 

Instructions (Original Methodology):

  1. Pour the entire contents of the packet into a clean one-quart glass jar.
  2. Add ¼ cup room temperature water and mix well. 
  3. Add ¼ cup flour and stir vigorously. Be sure to incorporate a significant amount of air into the mixture.
  4. Cover with a tight-weave towel or coffee filter, secured with a rubber band.
  5. Place jar in a warm area, 70°-85°F, for 12-18 hours.
  6. After 12-18 hours, feed the starter: Mix in ½ cup water and scant ½ cup flour. Stir vigorously.
  7. Cover as in step 4 and return to the warm spot for 12 hours.
  8. After 12 hours, discard all but ½ cup starter mixture. 
  9. Mix in ½ cup water and a scant 1 cup flour. Stir vigorously and cover.
  10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 every 12 hours, until mixture becomes light and bubbly, typically 3 to 7 days.
  11. Once the starter is bubbling reliably within a few hours of being fed, feed for 2 more cycles. The starter is now activated.

 

Instructions (Newer Methodology): 

  1. Add packet of starter to 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon water in a quart-size glass jar and stir thoroughly. Cover the jar with a coffee filter or breathable material secured with rubber band and culture in a warm place for 12-24 hours.
  2. After 12-24 hours, feed the starter with an additional 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 tablespoons water. Stir vigorously. Your starter should have the consistency of pancake batter, and you may need to add more flour or water.
  3. After 12-24 hours, feed the starter with an additional ¼ cup of flour and ¼ cup water. Stir vigorously.
  4. After another 12-24 hours, feed the starter with an additional ½ cup of flour and ½ cup water. Stir vigorously
  5. Every 12-24 hours, discard down to ½ cup of starter and then feed the starter with ½ cup water and ½ cup flour. Continue this feeding schedule, and after 3 to 7 days, your starter will be bubbling regularly within a few hours of feeding.

 

What to Do With Activated Sourdough Starter

Once your sourdough starter is active and bubbly for 3 consecutive feedings, you have a few choices. You may:

  1. Prepare fresh starter for baking
  2. Maintain starter daily at room temperature
  3. Maintain starter weekly in the refrigerator.

 

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