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Demystifying Sourdough – Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About Sourdough Starter – Why It’s Better For You – And How To Start One

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The Difference Between Active Sourdough Starter And Discard

In my recipes I use the term “active sourdough starter” to indicate a starter that is at its peak fermentation. This is the best time to use the starter for baking breads and in recipes that will undergo further fermentation. The starter is active, has doubled or peaked, and is ready for more fermenting.

But I also use “discard” in many of my recipes! Sourdough discard is fully fermented and therefore it is extremely digestible. It has usually spent some time in the refrigerator so it will be deflated, thicker and more sour. Some people choose to throw discard out before refreshing their starter but I choose to use this extra fermented flour in some of my recipes. Discard is my solution to having a wheat flour baked good that doesn’t need any extra fermentation time or one that will be fermenting for a very long time. If you are baking often enough, then discard doesn’t really need to be discarded! Waste not, want not!

How to measure your sourdough starter for consistency in a recipe.

Always stir your sourdough starter down to release trapped gas!

Here is why,

One cup of active 100% hydration sourdough starter weighs approximately 165 grams.

One cup of 100% hydration sourdough starter discard weighs approximately 250 grams. 

This is a noticeable difference and the reason why all sourdough recipes should use a common hydration percentage, be stirred down before measuring, and be weighed for accuracy.

 

Sourdough starter that is active and fresh makes wonderful artisan bread!

 

Page Guide

Page 1. Intro
Page 2. What Is Sourdough?
Page 3. Bread Terminology
Page 4. Why Eat Sourdough?
Page 5. Tools
Page 6. Starter Recipe
Page 7. Fresh Starter vs. Discard
Page 8. Starter Hydration & Feeding
Page 9. Favorite Recipes
Page 10. Troubleshooting Sourdough
Page 11.  Starter Insurance Policy
Page 12. Using Stale Bread
Page 13. Recipes You Don’t Want To Miss
 
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Sweet And Buttery Sourdough Pie Crust - Traditionally Fermented For A Nourished Diet
Freshly fired, golden brown and crispy Parmesan and sourdough crusted chicken strips.
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Parmesan And Sourdough Crusted Chicken Strips - Fried in Traditional Fat

Lina Herzer

Monday 3rd of August 2020

Hello, what a perfect site about sourdough! I am mainly interested in making the crackers for now. When I create the starter, can the discard from day 1 and onwards be saved in the fridge until I have enough to make a tray of crackers? or do I have to wait until day 14, discard? So on day three I would have 300grams of discard collected.Hope that makes sense. Thank you!

Butter For All

Monday 3rd of August 2020

Hi Lina!

It makes perfect sense. I usually recommend people start saving discard after around day 7, if and only if there is some significant growth and activity. You don't want to be keeping and using the starter before it's balanced correctly. It just won't taste good, especially if it's very sour, which is typical in the beginning until you cultivate the yeast!Get your starter going first, then when it starts doubling regularly it will be ready to use in all the recipes!

Hope that helps!

Courtney

Ed

Sunday 26th of July 2020

Hi what's the difference between using brewer's yeast, or Fleischman yeast as against preparing the sourdough starter?

Athena Engel

Thursday 23rd of July 2020

I love your revamped site!! It’s so clean and fresh!! I have a question about my starter. I was given a 50% starter. I absolutely love it!! It is so relaxing to knead it while feeding, it’s easy to work with, I can let it sit in my fridge and rise so it doesn’t die in my hot home (90-95 degrees) and isn’t nearly as messy. I have one HUGE problem, however. I cannot find recipes that use it. Is there a way to use my starter in your recipes? All of yours look so darn good, I would really like to make them.

Monika

Thursday 9th of July 2020

Please help me my sourdough bread always comes out sour . i did float test . how can i get no sour sourdough bread . Thanks

Butter For All

Saturday 11th of July 2020

Hi Monika,

You need to work on your starter. Feed it every 12 hours to help balance the bacteria to yeast. A bacteria heavy starter will be more sour. You want to encourage the yeast by feeding it more often. Watch this video where I explain how this works - https://youtu.be/M2w1f5sjAvc

Hope it helps,

Courtney

Beth

Thursday 9th of July 2020

Hi thank you for sharing. Is there anyway to print all the pages in one document without cutting and pasting?

Butter For All

Saturday 11th of July 2020

Hi Beth,

I don't have this available to print at this time. But I may create a PDF in the future since I've had a lot of requests! Get on my mailing list and I'll make sure you get notified when it becomes available. Thanks for the feedback!

Courtney

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