Sourdough Q&A

Answers to All Your Questions

The sourdough starter is made and now you have questions. Not to worry, we have you covered! Here is our list of common Q&A’s on sourdough. 

  • Do I have to feed the sourdough starter after each use?

    Yes! After each use, you should be replenishing your sourdough starter. Replenishing means that you are adding in more flour and liquid to replace the amount of starter you took out. If you do not replenish your starter, you will eventually use up your entire starter and will need to start a new.    

    Feeding, on the other hand, is giving your sourdough starter a small amount of food and extra liquid so the yeast and bacteria don’t run out of food and start to spoil. The amount you feed your starter is less than the amount that you use to replenish.    

  • Can I feed my sourdough starter multiple weeks in a row without using it?

    This isn’t recommended. As you feed your starter, you are creating more bacteria and yeast, which also needs to get fed. If you keep feeding the same amount each week you begin to have more bacterial and yeast die off as they compete for food. This can cause your sourdough starter to get saturated with dead bacteria which can start to “suffocate” the yeast and bacteria that are alive. If you are unable to use your starter it is a good idea to discard all but 1 cup of sourdough starter to feed and to keep it viable for continual use.  

  • How often do I have to stir the sourdough starter?

    Once your sourdough starter is established, you will only need to stir it before using it or to re-incorporate any liquid that separates.   

  • Where is the best place to store the sourdough starter?

    When establishing your sourdough starter, keep at room temperature. Once it is established, you can keep your sourdough starter in your refrigerator. 

  • My sourdough starter is separating, is it supposed to do that?

    Yes! When this happens, stir it back in. This liquid is naturally occurring and can be an indicator that you need to feed your starter. If desired, you can pour it off.   

  • What can I cover my sourdough starter with?

    You can cover your sourdough starter with plastic wrap, cheesecloth, or a clean tea towel. Your starter must have access to fresh air, so do not cover tightly with plastic wrap.   

  • My sourdough starter has changed colour, is it still safe to use?

    No! If your sourdough starter changes colour, such as darkens or gains a pink or orange colour, discard immediately. Other opportunistic bacteria have become established in your starter. These bacteria could be harmful to you and others.   

  • The sourdough starter has a very strong smell, is it safe?

    Smell your starter regularly. If there is a large smell difference, such as light and tangy to sharp and bitter, discard immediately. 

  • Why does BFK’s sourdough starter have yeast and other ingredients?

    Traditionally, sourdough starters are started with water and whole wheat flour and rely on wild yeast and Lactic Acid Bacteria found in the flour or in the air to cause the fermentation process. As more people use anti-bacterial cleaners, the chances of wild yeast successfully culturing your starter can become very slim.   

    We start with yeast and yogurt, which allows us to control the bacteria that are present from the start, giving you confidence that your sourdough starter will be successful from the very start.   

  • Can I substitute other types of milk for the skim milk?

    You can use skim, 1% and 2% in our sourdough starter. We do not suggest using higher fat milk due to the greater risk of spoilage.

  • Can I substitute plain yogurt for Greek yogurt?

    Yes! As long as you are using an unflavored yogurt that does not contain gelatin, pectin or other thickeners. 

  • Is there a way to know if my sourdough starter is ready to use?

    Yes! Fill a glass of water with warm water. Drop a small amount, no more than ½ tsp is needed, into the water. If the starter floats back to the top your sourdough starter is ready to use. If your starter sinks to the bottom allow to ferment at room temperature for another day.   

  • Can I share my sourdough starter with others, and if so, how?

    Of course! Divide the quantity of the starter you have in half and to each half mix in 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup milk. Let sit at room temperature overnight and then refrigerate until needed.   

  • What other ways can I use my sourdough starter?

    You can use your sourdough starter in place of buttermilk in baking recipes. Replace 1 cup of buttermilk by combining 1/2 cup prepared starter and ½ cup milk or water, let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before using  

  • What if I am done with the sourdough starter? How do I get rid of it?

    If you have no desire to maintain your starter any more or use it again in the future, spread it out on a parchment covered cookie sheet. Allow the starter to dry fully and then discard it in the garbage. It is not recommended to flush or wash starters down the drain. If you do not have time to dry your starter, transfer to a disposable container and discard it in the garbage.   

  • How long can I keep the sourdough starter?

    As long as your starter does not show any signs of spoilage you can keep your sourdough starter going for years.   

Featured Recipes

  • Medium
    Overnight Sourdough Scones
  • Medium
    Sourdough Waffles
  • Medium
    Sourdough Naan Bread

Sourdough Starter

Want the recipe? Check it out - we have a sourdough starter, bread, and more!