Note: Allow for a minimum of 42 hours before an active starter is achieved.
Our Complete Starter Bread Kits come included with 2 bags of organic flour: white & whole-wheat, which we recommend making a mix 50/50 blend of white & whole-wheat flour to feed your starter. The wholegrain flour gives your starter an extra boost & is beneficial for the growth of healthy wild yeast & lactic acid bacterias found in healthy starters.
Use filtered water. Straight tap water is not recommended for your starter, as tap water has a higher concentration of chlorine which can slow or kill your sourdough starter.
Keeping your starter at the optimal temperature of 24 degrees Celsius will help it grow according to our instructions below. If your room temperature is below 21 degrees, this can significantly slow down activity, in which case it can take up to 48 hours before it will show any (or little) activity, so be patient.
When using your active starter for baking, always leave some behind (a tablespoon is sufficient) to maintain a continuous fermentation cycle. Replace what you’ve used by feeding what’s left with equal parts flour & water. For information on maintaining a healthy starter, please visit the Starter Maintenance here.
1. In a cleaned & sterilised jar, stir together 50ml of filtered lukewarm water & all of the starter flakes. Let this soak for 10 minutes to help the flakes soften before adding flour.
2. (First feed) Add 40g of bread flour (we recommend a 50/50 mix of white & wholegrain flours or using whole rye flour). Using a spoon or jar spatula, mix well until there are no more dry lumps.
3. Let the jar sit in a warm room at 24 degrees Celsius for 12-24 hours. Most starters (if all conditions are ideal) should begin to show signs of activation when little air bubbles start appearing at the base of the jar.
If there is no signs of little air bubbles, please see the FAQs below.
4. (Second feed) Feed the starter again with equal parts water & flour (40g flour & 40g). Stir well & let it sit in a warm room at 24 degrees Celsius for another 12 hours or once bubbles start forming inside your starter jar (refer to video to compare), you now have an active starter. You can now use this starter where a sourdough starter is required, just remember to leave a little behind (a tablespoon) to feed & keep your starter going for the next bake.
Image below is an active starter after the second feed with a total of 42 hours resting at a consistent room temperature of 24-25 degrees Celsius. This starter was fed solely with organic stoneground wholegrain rye flour.
Note: If you’re unable to start baking right away than store your starter in the fridge, taking it out once a week & giving it a feed.
5. Proceed to Part 2 of the Bread Kit Guide.
FAQ’s & Troubleshooting
It has been 24 hours since I rehydrated my starter flakes & it is not showing signs of activity or bubbles! What am I doing wrong?
Firstly, make sure you have read & followed all instructions to revive the starter flakes. The most common issue with a slow moving starter is due to the room temperature as it directly affects the time it takes for your starter to bubble or show activity. The second most common issue is the flour used. If you have sourced your own flour, make sure it is of good quality bread flour, please DO NOT use supermarket plain flour.
After reviving your starter with water and adding the first portion of flour from the instructions, wait 24 hours. If there are no bubbles in your starter it doesn't mean there isn't any live yeast, they might just be weak (as this can vary depending on the batch). Leave it at room temperature for another 12-24 hours. If after 48 hours has passed & your starter is not showing any signs of small bubbles, please contact us.
What type of water should I use to make sourdough?
Filtered water. Straight tap water is not recommended for your starter, as tap water has a higher concentration of chlorine which can slow or kill your sourdough starter.
How to feed a sourdough starter & how often?
A typical sourdough starter feed is a 1:1:1 starter:flour:water ratio (i.e. 30g of starter, 30g of flour & 30g of filtered water) every 12 hours at room temperature.
Sometimes a higher flour & water feed ratio is required when your starter has been neglected or has not been fed for multiple days at room temperature - a 1:4:4 (5g starter: 20g flour: 20g filtered water) is recommended. This will remove excess levels of acidity in the starter (which can slow activity) & help get your starter back on track. A healthy starter should smell sweet with hints of sourness.
What is a starter build & how do I do one?
This all depends on when your starter was last fed! If your starter hasn’t been fed for over 24 hours, than it is recommended. Making good bread requires a starter that has been fed every 12 hours & is doubling in size. So often a starter build is required to refresh an unfed starter (unfed for more than 24 hours) to ensure it is at its optimal peak when adding into a bread mix.
One way to do a starter build is to take an active starter that is unfed & do a typical feed of 1:1:1 ratio (starter:flour:water) - equal parts starter, flour & water. A recipe may require 100g of active starter, so 4-6 hours before mixing your dough, discard all but 40g of starter & feed it with 40g flour & 40g of water. This should give you a total of 120g of active starter, 100g of which will be added to the bread mix & 20g left to keep alive.
What do I do with all the sourdough discard?
Don’t bin it, you can use it in discard recipes found online by searching “sourdough discard recipes”.
Can I store my starter at room temperature?
To store the starter at room temperature, you’ll need to feed the starter twice a day; every 12 hours. You could push it out to once every 24 hours if it’s a cold room (although it will stay strongest if you feed every 12 hours).
What if my room temperature is cold?
Often the temperature in the room in which our starter lives can fluctuate, especially at night & in winter, this can slow activity dramatically. One way to prevent slow growth in your starter is to leave it in the oven with only the light on & a bowl of hot water can help too. Or you could purchase a small heat mat similar to a seedling mat should also help. Make sure you do not exceed 28 degrees Celsius as it can kill your starter.
My starter has mould & smells off, can I save it?
Sourdough starters are extremely hard to kill. Even when you think your starter has mould or has a strong smell or layer of liquid sitting above, it can still be saved. You can do this by scraping & discarding any dry/liquid or mould like bits, then taking a tablespoon of the starter & feeding it with 40g of flour & 40g of water. Let it sit at a room temperature (preferably 24-25 degrees Celsius) for 12-24 hours, this should bring it back to life after several feeds.
How do I prepare my starter for baking after fridge storage?
Extended cold storage below 4 degrees Celsius will destroy a significant number of yeast & bacteria so your starter won’t be as active. Follow these rough guidelines to reviving your starter from the fridge.
Up to 1 week in the fridge
Let your starter come to room temperature before beginning the starter build based on the recipe.
Up to 2 weeks in the fridge
Let your starter come to room temperature then feed it once a 1:4:4 ratio - starter: flour: water (e.g 5g starter: 20g flour: 20g water). Once it has doubled, then do you starter build based on the recipe.
Can I leave my starter in the fridge for a month or longer?
Not recommended. But if you do, you’ll still need to refresh (feed it) at least once every two weeks, even if stored in the fridge. When you want to bake, let your starter come to room temperature then feed it once a 1:4:4 ratio - starter: flour: water (e.g 5g starter: 20g flour: 20g water). Once it has doubled, then do you starter build based on the recipe.
What if I need to take an extended break & can’t bake for 2-12 months?
We recommend dehydrating your starter. Simply feed your active starter with 1:1:2 ratio (more water). Once it is bubbly, spread your starter thinly onto some baking paper & let it dry out for a few days until completely dry & flaky. Crush the flakes up and store in clean air tight jar. When you’re ready to start up again - revive your flakes as per instructions above.