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Is Your Sourdough Starter Alive & Well

It’s almost time to bake bread! In this six-part series called “Follow the Sourdough,” Chef John shows you how to make sourdough bread, from beginning to end. Last time, you learned how to feed your sourdough starter to make it strong and healthy. Today, we’re observing the tiny bubbles that form on the top of the starter when it's alive and well. For bread makers, this is scintillating viewing. Because, guess what? You’re almost ready to make bread! Did you miss the previous episode? Check out How to Feed Your Sourdough Starter. Ready to move on? See How to Make the Sponge for Homemade Bread. Or start at the beginning with How to Make San Francisco Sourdough Starter.

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  • tomlori

This went from day 2 to day 4 with tiny bubbles. What happened to day 3?

  • bandon ART

Thanks...yup, all went well with the starter and my sourdough buckwheat waffles were truly amazing. Yikes, I sound about 12, but nonetheless, the waffles were everything we had hoped for. Turned out the little "floating" island in the middle of my starter was undissolved flour which had become a gummy "no man's land", just floatin' about a sea of sourdough goodness.

  • bandon ART

OK...this isn't my first sourdough rodeo, BUT, I'm a bit concerned about my starter. The liquid I stir back in faithfully is a clear somewhat brown-tinged color. It smells great doesn't APPEAR moldy, but about every other day it has a small "patch" of solid starter floating on the top. One might say it looks a bit like the stuff you scrape off the counter when you dribble your starter whilst spooning it out for measurement. Does that make sense? It IS NOT PINKISH OR ORANGE and does not smell bad in the least. I just want to know if I should throw in the towel and start a new batch now or should I just keep on going, risking a waste of time later. Thanks for any help...I've lost my confidence. Oh one more thought, we have a you think I should be using distilled water just in case? Now, I'm starting to scare myself! haha