We LOVE sourdough!
It is one of the classes that we teach most, next to kombucha and sauerkraut, so apparently we are not the only ones digging it.
If you have a new baby sourdough starter (or a well aged one that you have had forever), here is what you need to know to take care of it.
When you first get home with your new baby, make sure it is in a jar or container (glass, please!) with plenty of room to grow. Make sure it is nice and clean first!
To feed it initially, start small and give it mostly a good "snack" ;-). Depending on how much you start with, about 1/4 cup of flour and an equal weight in water (just less than 1/4 cup by volume) should be enough for now. Stir well and cover it with a breathable cloth, paper towel, coffee filter or other cover.
You can feed it as much as a twice a day or as little as twice a week as needed, while leaving it on the countertop. Ideally, you feed about once a day and are routinely using your starter for a variety of projects throughout the week! The longer you go between feedings, the more sour the flavor will be, and the more frequent the feeding, the more bubbly and active it will be, with a milder flavor.
How much you feed it at a time also matters. You usually don't want to do much more than doubling the volume of starter at a time. So if you have a cup of starter, you don't want much more than 2 cups after it is fed. The more you feed it at a time, the more room you want to make sure you have in your jar, too. As it gets active, it can grow quite substantially!
If you aren't using it at least a couple of times a month, you're getting too much starter, or if you are going to be away or unable to feed it and just need it to "rest", you can put it into the fridge. This slows the fermentation so that you only have to feed once a week or so. Don't worry if you're away for more than that, though! Just give it a good feeding before putting it in the fridge.
When you want to use it again, just pull it out of the fridge and allow it to start waking up overnight, and then feed again and go back to normal use.
Hope this helps and good luck with your dough!
Check out our video on sourdough basics for more!