Welcome back to our Video Q&A series! Today's question comes from Tami:
“I've seen your sourdough starter videos and have my own starter sitting on the counter now (started 8 days ago). It doesn't take 12 hours to double, more like 3 to 5. Should I still wait the full 12 hours before feeding it again, even though it “falls” by that point? And I know you said “several weeks” for it to be ready. It smells good and sour now, will two weeks be enough? Thank you, and thanks for all the free resources! I really appreciate them!” — Tami
You'll see my answer in the video above or below in the print notes.
By the way, you can learn how to make your own sourdough starter in our free video and instructions here.
1. Should she add another feeding?
You have to consider the starter's behavior. If it is smelling sour and fresh and exhibiting normal sourdough starter behavior, there's no need to add another feeding.
Normal behavior is: doming up, bubbling, then falling and producing hooch, all while smelling like a good old sourdough starter. By that I mean, it doesn't smell bad or anything.
If you notice off smells, it could mean the starter is going too long without food, and adding a feeding to break up the long 12-hour span would be helpful. This tends to happen in very hot weather, not normal room temperature conditions.
2. When can she use the starter?
It sounds like you can use it right now! It is doubling in size after each feeding and seems to have been doing so for a few days. You want to see it doing this for three feedings in a row. Then go ahead and use it in pancakes, waffles, english muffins or other free recipes here on the blog. When you're ready to graduate (and what fun that is), you can grab our Sourdough A to Z eBook or try out the Sourdough eCourse.
I'd suggest letting the starter mature more before using it in a full-on bread recipe. Keep up with regular twice daily feedings, keeping the starter at room temperature. After a few more weeks, it will be strong enough to put it in the fridge for a week or two — if you want to take a break from it, that is. 😉
Do you have other advice for Tami? Please share!
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