Feeding Your Starter, Bobbie Jo

Sourdough Starter baking bread


  • Rehydrated Bobbie Jo Starter
  • All-purpose Flour
  • Water (preferably a source without chlorine which call kill the starter)

Tools Needed

  • Spatula 
  • Rubber band
  • Kitchen scale (Optional)

Congratulations on getting your starter rehydrated!  That’s one hurdle you’ve already overcome!  Now, let’s work on keeping Bobbie Jo fed and happy.

Using the starter you’ve just rehydrated, add 1/3 C. of all-purpose flour and water (add water 1 Tbsp. at a time).  With your spatula, stir the mixture until all of the flour is mixed in.  You want a consistency that is fairly “goopy”, like slime.  If it’s too runny, add a bit of flour until you’re happy with the texture.  If it’s too thick, add a bit of water.

That’s it!  Put a rubber band around your jar at the height of your mixture and place it on the counter with the lid loosely on top so air can escape.  We like to sit it on our stove top under the lights if our house is cooler.  Your starter will begin to grow and bubble at its own pace.  Once all the food has been consumed, it will stop growing.  Bobbie Jo tends to sit at max height for a few hours, so you’ll have some time before it begins to fall.  When it’s at max height (peak activity), that’s the best time to start baking.  Once it approximately doubles in height, you’re ready to start baking!

Check out this video on feeding your starter.

PRO TIP:  If you are not going to bake in the foreseeable future, screw your lid on tight and put it in the fridge.  This will put your starter in hibernation mode.  Some believe that you should still feed it periodically, however we’ve left it for months without feeding our starter.  Once we were ready, it took 3-4 feedings to wake it up and bring it back to life.  Be patient and put it in a warm area (75-78°F/24°C).

FAQ:  We get a lot of questions around feeding your starter - here are some of those to help you out.

  • This is too much of a free for all, can I get some measurements?
  • You bet! We tend to just roll with it rather than make it all sciency.  For those looking for specific directions, use:

    30g Active Starter

    140g All-purpose Flour

    125g Water

  • If my starter begins to fall, can I still bake with it?
  • Yes!  Do the following test - drop a spoonful of starter into a bowl of water.  If it floats, you’re still good to go.  If not, make your favorite recipe using the discard.

  • What is the liquid on top of my starter?
  • This is called the “Hooch”.  It is alcohol from the fermentation process that develops once all the food is gone.  It can range from a clear amber color to a milky gray (or sometimes black).

  • Does this liquid mean I’ve killed my starter?
  • Nope!  You’re in luck.  It just means that it needs more food to come back to life.  You can either mix it into your starter (if you like a strong flavor) or you can pour it off.  Begin feeding your starter and it should come back to life.  Depending on how long it sat dormant in your fridge, it could take up to a week of feedings before you see good activity again.  Remember, it’s pretty tough to kill your starter so don’t worry.

  • I have too much starter in my jar, what do I do?
  • You will need to discard some of your starter if you are not going to bake with it.  There are a lot of other types of recipes you can use your discard in (Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies anyone?).  Another use that we love is to put it in your garden or flower bed - the living organisms do wonder for your soil.  Otherwise, toss it in the garbage and move on.  Don’t get too worked up over it.  Don’t put it down the sink - if it dries, it’s like a rock.

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