America's #1 Sourdough Mix!

FAQ

I am having trouble following the instructions for baking sourdough bread. It is in the refrigerator now; do I take it all out and feed all of it? Or only take out the amount asked for in the recipe and feed that?

 Sorry for the confusion. The basic idea is to keep your starter well fed, ready for use and uncontaminated with other recipe ingredients. 1) Take your master container with the Gold Rush Sourdough Starter from the fridge and place it on the kitchen counter. Loosen the lid or cover so it can breathe fresh air. 2) Let the starter warm up on its own to room temperature. 3) Stir the Sourdough thoroughly. 4) Pour out what sourdough you need for your recipe into your recipe bowl. 5) Feed the sourdough starter in the master container with equal parts water and flour. 6) Stir thoroughly. 7) If you plan to make more recipes with sourdough over the next day, keep the master sourdough container out of the fridge, otherwise after a few hours reseal the container and put back in the fridge. 

I started your sourdough starter and it does not smell very sour. I baked loaf bread, and it lacked “tang”. Should I toss it and start fresh? Can I add something to help it along?

Some companies add a sour flavor to their starter to carry it through during the beginning feedings as the sour develops through vigilant feedings. Gold Rush however, does not add any such flavorings. The sour will develop nicely with care and time. The more time you spend with your starter, leaving at room temperature and twice-daily feedings, the faster it moves to sour stage. 

I have just started the starter, it’s been 24 hours. Can I continue to leave out the sponge and feed it every 6-8 hour? How long can I leave it out without putting it in the refrigerator? When should I feed it again after the first feeding?

 You can leave your starter out and never put it into the refrigerator as long as you don’t neglect your starter, and feed it daily. The refrigerator acts as a place for your starter to “rest” as it goes dormant once it reaches the colder temperatures.

Which is better to use when feeding the sponge, all-purpose, or bread flour?

 Bread flour or General purpose is better. Try other flours when making your recipes.

Your guidelines say to make the sourdough more sour feed it once or twice a day, and leave out at room temperature. This seems like too much feeding, are the directions right?

 Like everything else alive, it needs food to sustain life. For the starter, food is flour and water. Do not ignore it for more than a day, or you risk killing your starter. If you don’t have time to do this, or are going out of town, put your starter in the refrigerator to allow it to go dormant. When the sponge is in the refrigerator, the feedings can be reduced to once a week or month. Both you and your starter can go on vacation.

I want to avoid all the time spent waiting for my sponge to come to room temperature, and feed. How can I do this?

 By not putting your starter in the fridge, it does not go dormant and is ready to go into a recipe much faster. You must spend more time maintaining it on a daily basis.

Does the container for the sponge, or choice of sponge have an impact on the starter culture? My bread did not rise very much even using yeast.

The container can make a difference. Keep the starter or sponge in a non-reacitve container such as plastic or ceramic bowl. Never use a metal bowl or container. 

I have been using the starter for a while now, and all of a sudden, the smell is off, just very odd. Should I toss it out?

A pungent odor always accompanies the sourdough. It is usually described as a baby formula smell, alcohol, or just extremely sour. If your starter is healthy and active, it is bubbly on the surface. Seperation is likely, the liquid is black, green or red throw it out. 

I have been using my starter for every week for 6 months. The last two loaves smelled very sour, and tasted too strong. How do I repair the damage?

 You’re a lucky one, as most people strive for this problem. There are three ways to correct the problem. 1) In your recipes try adding a half-teaspoon additional baking soda to your recipe to sweeten the mixture. 2) If you think your starter is too tart, dump almost all the starter except one cup and feed with several cups flour and water. This will reduce the strength of the starter. 3) Putting the starter in the fridge sooner after feeding will reduce acid levels

There is no bubbling in my starter. Why?

 Discard 1Cup. Feed 1Cup Bread flour and 1Cup Water. Then leave the starter at a temp. of 90 degrees for 24 hrs.

Is my starter dead/bad?

 If there is a layer of liquid on top of starter it is alive. The starter is being held at a low temp. make sure to keep the starter at 90 degrees for best results.

Starter was really active and now is not. Is this normal or ok?

 Sometimes this will happen. As long as It gives off liquid it is active.

I used wheat flour to start the starter and I have no activity, what can I do?

 Discard all but 1 cup of the starter and give it a double feeding for two days, this should restart the starter. This has to do with the protein to gluten ratio for proper development.

I have forgotten to feed the starter, what do I do?

 Give the starter a double feeding and keep in a warm place for 24hrs. Then resume normal schedule.

I have forgotten to feed the starter. What do I do?

 Give starter a double feeding and keep in a warm place for 24hrs, then resume on a normal schedule.

I’ve tried everything and I still have little activity, is there anything else I can do?

 In cheese cloth wrap 1cup red grapes and tie with string (enough to overhang bucket) slightly crush grapes and place in starter feed normally leaving cheese cloth in starter for three days after which you can remove, this will add natural sugars and yeast.

I have liquid suspended in the middle of my starter is this normal?

 If this happens discard the starter, it has gone bad.

Can I make this gluten free?

 No, starter requires protein and gluten to form the basic cell structure which allows bread to rise. To use the proper ingredients for gluten free bread it will not support the starter growth.

I am leaving town, how do I keep my starter going?

 Do not remove any starter and give it 1 1/2 cup flour and 1 1/2 cup water. Place in refrigerator for up to eight days, after which you will remove 2cup and let the starter warm for 24hrs. Feed normal schedule.

Can I make wheat sourdough bread?

 Yes, you may wish to add a small amount of dry yeast to aid in the rise other wise use your favorite recipe using the starter as your main yeast.

I can’t get the formed bread to rise?

 Area may have a draft or is to cool for proper rise.

My bread deflates when I remove plastic before baking what can I do?

 Use pan spray on plastics, this will allow bread to expand and will come off without tearing or deflating your bread.

Instructions say to add yeast to bread while kneeding, is this accurate?

 It is better to add the yeast to the liquid, this will give you better dispersion in the dough.

Bread is to dense, what do I do?

 You have over worked your bread and developed to much gluten. Try kneeding for less time.

How do I know I have worked the dough correctly?

 Kneed the dough until when you push your finger into the dough the dimple slowly moves back into shape.

Can I allow bread to rise in pan?

 Yes. Just make sure to cover top of pan with plastic and make cuts to dough before baking.

Can I refrigerate my dough overnight before baking?

 Yes, but let dough come to room temperature before baking.

My bread didn’t bake all the way and I did what the instructions said. What happened?

 Your oven may not be calibrated correctly, get an oven thermometer for a more accurate temperature reading.