What is a Fresh Sourdough Starter?
Many sourdough recipes call for "fresh sourdough starter." The term "fresh" refers to a sourdough starter where the yeast and bacteria are in an optimal state of activity and are ready to leaven baked goods.
If you have been maintaining your sourdough starter at room temperature, your starter may already be ready to use for baking. Review our tutorial on how to Prepare Fresh Sourdough Starter for Baking to check if your room temperature starter is active enough to use for leavening in sourdough recipes.
If your sourdough starter has been maintained in the refrigerator, it is necessary to bring the starter out of hibernation before baking.
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How to Make Fresh Sourdough Starter
1. Bring the Starter Out of Hibernation
The following are steps for making a fresh sourdough starter for baking if your sourdough starter is normally kept in the refrigerator:
- Remove ¼ cup sourdough starter from the refrigerator or measure the amount of starter you have.
- Feed starter with flour and water: If using a scale to measure ingredients, combine equal amounts by weight of starter, water, and flour. For instance, 50 grams starter, 50 grams water, 50 grams flour. If using measuring cups, combine 1 part starter, 1 part water, and a little less than 2 parts flour. For instance, ¼ cup starter, ¼ cup water, slightly less than ½ cup flour.
- Mix vigorously.
- Cover the container and let starter culture for 12-24 hours in cooler temps for a tangier sourdough, for 8-12 hours in warmer temps for a sweet starter.
2. Repeat Feedings Two Times
Repeat this process two more times prior to baking, measuring the amount of starter you have and using the same ratios prescribed above. By the third feeding, the sourdough starter should be very bubbly and double in size within 4-8 hours of being fed, indicating that the yeast and bacteria are creating adequate gas to properly leaven bread. If not, continue feeding until the starter is bubbly and active.
Once your starter is bubbly and active, you have a fresh sourdough starter! If you have enough starter to meet the requirements of your recipe, it’s time to bake! If you do not have enough starter yet, continue feeding and building up more starter.
3. Prepare the Fresh Starter for Baking
Once your starter is bubbly and active you will need to prepare it for baking by determining how much starter your recipe requires and building it up to that amount. If you have enough starter to meet the requirements of your recipe, it’s time to bake!
If you do not have enough starter yet, continue feeding and building up more starter. You can learn more about Preparing Fresh Starter for Baking in our tutorial or try one of our many Sourdough Recipes!
Start Making Fresh Sourdough Starter Now
Now that you know exactly how to make a fresh sourdough starter, Cultures for Health is here to help with all of your fermentation and culture needs!
We have 4 unique types of Sourdough Starters for you to choose from including:
- San Fransico Starter Culture
- Gluten-Free Starter Culture
- Whole Wheat Starter Culture
- Rye Starter Culture
Each of these comes with detailed instructions to successfully make your fresh sourdough at home.
We also have an amazing starter kit for brand-new fermenters. This starter kit has everything you need to start making sourdough at home including tools and a starter culture.