Since I started my no-knead sourdough bread, I haven’t been relying on my starter as much. Instead I’ve been using a cup and a half of leftover dough to start the next batch, which is as it should be. By taking my starter out of the baking equation, I now have a chance to give my starter some of the TLC that it deserves.
I told my daughter today that she does have a sister, since my starter is my other baby. I don’t think she quite got it.
Anyway, I’ve been a bit neglectful of my starter lately, leaving her out all the time, feeding her irregularly, not measuring quantities, and she’s been showing it with sluggish behaviour, early hooch, etc. So I’m back on a proper diet and schedule and she’s already showing signs of improvement.
I got my starter care advice from the rec.food.sourdough “Starter Doctor“. Their version they call the “one tablespoon method” but I use the following quantities:
1 oz starter
1 oz water
1 oz flour
I mix together these three ingredients and leave the starter out for 24 hours at room temperature.
Then I put it in the fridge for minimum 12 hours.
Then I do it again, taking 1 oz from the mixture in the fridge, and adding 1 oz each of starter, water and flour. Leave out for 24 hours, refrigerate for 12 hours, then start again.
Keep this up until your starter is vibrant. The link at rec.food.sourdough has a good rubric for figuring out the health of your starter. Once it is vibrant, or as they call it, “fresh”, you can start baking bread with it.
Another thing you can do to help it along is to feed it with rye flour. For some reason the rye makes it really go crazy, like mine did yesterday.
Good luck with your starters!