Before you can get down and dirty with your very own sourdough recipe, it’s important to understand how much sourdough starter to use for baking bread. If you’re wondering whether the amount matters, then stick around for the answer.
Table of Contents
- Does The Amount of Sourdough Starter Matter?
- Sourdough Starter Feeding Ratios
- So Does The Amount Matter?
Does The Amount of Sourdough Starter Matter?
The amount of starter used in homemade bread can vary from 50g to around 200g or more. However, these amounts aren’t random at all.
Normally, the amount of starter chosen for a specific recipe isn’t picked at random, rather it is chosen for a specific reason.
In fact, you can even change the amount of starter in a recipe to suit your needs.
The less starter you use the slower the dough will ferment, resulting in a tangy-flavored loaf. On the other hand, the more starter you use, the faster the dough will ferment, resulting in a less sour loaf.
The amount of starter measured is somewhat related to the flour. So 50g of starter to 500g of flour will ferment at a very slow pace, rather than 200g of starter to 500g of bread flour.
Using Less Starter
Generally, the less starter you use, the less chance you have of your dough over-fermenting during bulk fermentation, which also reduces the risk of a sticky and unshapely dough.
With any sourdough recipe, before you begin baking, you need to make sure that your starter is as strong as possible.
If you’re looking to bulk ferment overnight, then 50g of starter is probably the best option for your bread dough recipe.
Some of the best reasons to use a small amount of starter are:
- You can ferment the dough for longer periods, meaning that you can comfortably let your dough ferment in the refrigerator, without having to worry about over-fermentation.
- Your starter will develop beautiful flavors within the dough, as the dough can ferment longer, which gives the bacteria more time to develop flavors within the dough.
- Using small amounts of starter would mean that you can easily maintain a smaller starter
- You can continue to make sourdough bread during the summer.
When to Use More Starter
You’ll only ever need a small amount of starter, but you might want to increase the amount of starter in certain circumstances.
- If it’s colder than usual, you can increase your starter to make the bread ferment quicker.
- If you’re in a rush and wish to make your starter ferment quicker, then you can increase your starter up to 200g and decrease the bulk ferment time.
- If you want your starter to be less sour, then use more starter.
Sourdough Starter Feeding Ratios
Your starter is literally a living culture. The combination of flour and water has accommodated millions of yeast and bacteria cells living within it. This live culture requires fresh food, i.e., more flour and water.
The more you add to your culture, the more life there is within it, therefore more food is needed. Knowing how much food is the correct amount to feed your starter gets all of us sourdough bakers rubbing our chins, but there are several ways to approach this.
Minimum Feeding 1:1:1
Essentially, you should be feeding the sourdough starter with 1:1:1 feedings. Meaning that you should feed your sourdough starters with equal parts flour and water by weight.
For instance, if you have 10g of starter, and you’re trying to feed it 1:1:1, then refresh 10g of starter with 10g of water and 10g of flour. The fresh flour and water are enough to feed the wild yeast whilst becoming a part of it so that it can ferment in time to bake sourdough bread recipes.
Other Feeding Ratio
While 1:1:1 is the typical ratio used in most sourdough feedings, you may find some bakers use 1:2:2 or 1:3:3. These ratios represent the amount of flour and water you give to your own sourdough starter.
So Does The Amount Matter?
Yes of course. The amount of sourdough starter used in any sourdough recipe will always impact the overall flavors of your sourdough bread, depending on what you’re hoping to achieve.
If you want a reset, start with my beginners sourdough guide!
Can You Use Too Much Sourdough Starter in Bread?
Yes. In fact, the more starter you use, the faster your dough will ferment, resulting in a less sour loaf.
What is The Best Ratio For Sourdough Starter?
The most common feeding ratio is 1:1:1. For instance, 40g of flour and 40g of water.
How Much Sourdough Starter to Use Instead of Yeast?
You can use 300g of sourdough starter tp replace 2 teaspoons of yeast.
How Many Grams of Sourdough Starter Should I Keep?
You should aim to maintain 220g of sourdough starter every day. For instance, 20g of ripe sourdough starter, 70g of all-purpose flour, 30g of whole rye flour, and 100g of water.