What container for your sourdough starter?

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So you are inspired to start a sourdough starter. You’ve got some wholemeal flour in the cupboard; there’s water in the tap and wild yeasts in the air for the taking – it’s time to find a container.

But what type of container? Well chances are there’s a container lurking in your kitchen already; here’s a few pointers to help you find it:-

  • It needs to be big enough
  • It needs to be a hygienic material
  • It needs to allow fermentation gases to be released.
  • It helps if its transparent

Let’s explore each of those in turn:-

It needs to be big enough

Big enough for the amount of sourdough you are going to produce. A home baker only needs a small container; a micro bakery a bit bigger; a wholesale bakery needs a big container!

If in doubt, we suggest you start small (say 500ml) and you can always build up into a bigger container as and when needed.

It needs to be a hygienic material

This container is going to be used to store food – in particular a mildly acidic, fermenting grain liquid. So it needs to be food grade plastic or ceramic / glass; and as it will be in and out the fridge, it needs a lid (no one likes the butter falling in the sourdough starter – we call this a polluted starter!).

It needs to allow fermentation gases to be released

The micro-organisms in our sourdough starter will produce gases whilst they are fermenting our grain, and that gas needs to be allowed to escape. So our lid cannot be airtight. We want a loose fitting lid. So that means avoiding the clamp tight lids on plastic tupperwears, and losing the gasket on your glass kilner jars.

It helps if is transparent

Not mandatory, but we find it helps to have a transparent container, especially when your just finding your sourdough feet – as you can tell a lot about the health and readyness of a sourdough starter by using your eyes – bubble formation, volume change etc. So bonus points if you can find a clear container.

But above all, just try it…

Don’t worry too much about finding the perfect container; the real magic is the container contents – your first sourdough starter. At doughies, we’ve used old crocks, plastic tupperwears and old yoghurt pots – it all works!

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