My second attempt at a sourdough starter is going MUCH better than the first batch. Its surface has itty bitty bubbles and there are huge bubbles underneath that come loose when you stir! My next step is finding a bread recipe to try (no knead? sandwich? rolls?) but in the meantime I thought I’d jot down the things I’ve discovered the past couple of weeks:

  1. Temperature matters. Having undertaken most of my fermenting projects in the height of summer (in Texas) it never occurred to me that my kitchen might not be warm enough. I moved my sourdough jar to an off-oven and that helped lots. I have an oven thermometer in there and if the temp gets below 70º, I turn the oven light on for a bit.
  2. Your flour matters. I started with a whole wheat flour and then fed with an unbleached all purpose flour (as instructed) but all the wonderful bubbles that came on day one quickly faded when I switched to all purpose flour. So… I slowly weaned the starter off the whole wheat flour with my second attempt, using a 3:1 ratio of whole wheat to AP on my first day of feeding, then a 2:2 ratio, and then 1:3. Weaning it off the wild yeasts in the full grain flour seems to have really helped. I have now moved on to feeding with only AP flour and it seems to be nice healthy.
  3. Discarded starter is never-ending. We’ve embraced a weekly pizza night with this very easy recipe and I am keeping waffles stocked in the freezer with this recipe, but the quantities of discard that I am having to find uses for is becoming a bit much. Going to work on stocking the freezer with some pizza dough, some par-baked frozen pizzas, and anything else that I can come up with to stock up, and then I may have to bring this little project a pause.

Next sourdough update will be with a loaf of bread if all goes well. Wish me luck!

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