When you pick up your Uproot starter, it will be active and ready to use. But! Most bread recipes call for about two cups of starter. That means that you’ll need to “feed” your one-cup of starter to increase its volume. When you follow the formula below, you’ll end up with about three cups of starter.
Follow the feeding instructions if you’re ready to bake the day you pick up the starter, which will be active and ready.
If you’re not baking right away, store your starter in the fridge and follow the reviving instructions a day or two before you’re ready to bake.
Feeding/reviving the starter will do two things: increase its volume and activate
Microbes in your starter stay alive by feeding on sugars in the flour. At The Uproot, we feed our starter equal parts sourdough starter, spring water and all-purpose, King Arthur flour.
The amount of starter you use/how much you feed it will depend on the amount of starter your recipe calls for.
Example: Your bread recipe calls for 2 cups of sourdough starter. Dump one cup of starter from your jar into a bowl big enough to accommodate the mix as it grows. Add one cup of water (filtered or spring, if possible) and one cup of flour. You’ll always use equal parts starter, water and flour, no matter how much starter you begin with.
Mix it well with a rubber spatula until the flour is incorporated. Cover the bowl and set it on the counter in the summer, or find a warmer place for it if your house is cold in the winter.
Check on the starter over the next few hours. It’s ready to use when the volume has increased considerably and it has billowed up. You should see big air bubbles, and the starter should jiggle when you gently shake the bowl. It should smell pungent, with a whiff of vinegar. The starter is now active and ready to use.
A testing trick: Wet your hand and pinch a bit of starter from the bowl. Drop it into a cup of water. If it sinks to the bottom, let it activate longer before you use it. If it floats, it’s time to bake!
If you wait too long, the starter will surpass this peak activity and begin to deflate and you’ll see small bubbles or foam. If you’re in a hurry, you can still use a deflated starter, but it’s best to feed it again and wait.
You should end up with about three cups of starter. If your recipe only calls for two cups, as in our example, return the remaining cup to your jar and store in the fridge for your next project. Always reserve a bit of starter. It can be as little as one tablespoon - you’ll just need to feed-activate-feed-activate for a few cycles until you have enough volume next time.
If you find that you still have extra starter after reserving and baking, you can whip up a quick batch of crackers. (link to Jen’s cracker recipe)!
Always reserve some starter to store in the fridge for your next project. It can be as little as a tablespoon, or fill your jar. It will survive dormant in your fridge for about a month. But any longer, and you’ll need to feed the starter so that the microbes don’t starve. Even if you don’t plan to bake, you should still feed the starter once a month to keep it alive.
Reviving your starter after it’s been stored in the fridge is basically the same process as feeding your starter. It just might take a few rounds of feeding to bring it back to life, depending on how long it’s been stored.
Pull your sourdough from the refrigerator two days before you want to bake. It will look flat and lifeless. Dump out the grey/brown liquid that has pooled on top and replace the lid. Set the container on your counter and allow it to come to room temperature.
To strengthen the starter, you’ll feed it in a series, discarding some of it during each round. Here’s what I do: Measure ¼ cup of starter and add it to a bowl. Discard the remaining starter. Mix in ¼ cup of water and ¼ cup of flour (always 1-1-1) and set the bowl in a warm place, covered. Look for the same cues we learned about when feeding a starter. When it looks active, repeat the first step of reviving, discarding all but a ¼ of starter to feed again. Depending on how long the starter has been dormant and the temperature of your house, this could take up to five rounds of feeding. I’ve even spent a few days reviving my starter.
Is there anything else I should know about my Uproot Starter?
Here are a few tips from Nancy Silverton of La Brea Bakery:
If the starter seems sluggish, put it in a warmer place and increase the water temperature during feedings.
If the starter seems too active and tastes too sour, put it in a cooler place and feed it with water that is slightly cooler than the usual 70-degrees.
Use spring or filtered water if you can. Chlorinated water can kill the microbes.
How to know if your starter is “dead”?
The grey/brown liquid that pools on top is normal, but pink or green is a sign of spoilage and should be discarded. If you don’t see any air bubbles after several rounds of feeding and resting in a warm spot, your starter likely consumed all the sugars and starved and cannot be brought back to life.
What measures are you taking to mitigate the spread of Covid-19?
We will not come to work if we have any symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) or have been exposed to anyone with symptoms of illness
At the farmers' markets, we will arrange our booth and checkout procedure so that staff and customers can comply with social distancing requirements, including maintaining 6-foot social distancing for both staff and customers at all times, such as during shopping and checkout
At the kitchen, pickups will be organized and follow the Maine CDC takeout procedure.
We will take all reasonable steps to minimize customer handling of unpurchased merchandise
We will designate with signage, tape, or by other means six-foot spacing for employees and customers in line to maintain an appropriate distance
We will encourage and remind customers to refrain from long conversations and to encourage quick, responsible shopping
We are encouraging our customers to preorder, when possible
We will pre-package foods whenever possible
We will ensure that staff wear gloves while handling payments, and will have two separate staff people to handle payments and product
We will disinfect commonly touched surfaces regularly following established disinfectant protocols
How do I make an Uproot Pie at home?
Remove your dough from the refrigerator 30-60 minutes before baking. Once your dough has come to room temperature, dust the top with flour and gently press your fingertips into the dough a few times to create dimples and release air bubbles.
Pick up the dough and begin to gently pinch the outer edges, moving dough in a circular motion. Let gravity pull the dough as you create the crust with your pinching/circular motion. Continue until the dough fits over both fists. Next, you have a couple of options:
You can try your hand at tossing. Go ahead, just toss while twisting your wrists and hope for the best. But here's what I do: Keep stretching by passing the dough from one hand to the next while rotating the dough around until the desired size is reached.
Choose your baking method:
Preheat your pizza stone at 500 degrees 30 minutes before baking.
Dust a peel or the back of a sheet pan covered with parchment paper (for easy release) with cornmeal.
Place the dough on the peel (or sheet pan). Top the pizza with desire ingredients.*
Slide the pizza into the oven onto the stone and bake until cheese is bubbly and crust is as you like it.
Warm your cast iron on the stovetop.
Stretch out your dough. Sprinkle the cast iron with cornmeal. Lay the dough into the cast iron.
Let the underside of dough begin to take on color. Then top with desiredingredients. *
Keep checking the bottom of your pizza. Once golden brown, place the cast iron into the oven under the broiler. Check frequently. Remove once the crust is to your liking and the cheese is bubbling.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees 30 minutes before baking.
Dust a sheet pan with cornmeal and a drizzle of olive oil
Stretch the dough and top with desired ingredients.*
Bake to desired done-ness.
* At The Uproot, we think less-is-more when it comes to toppings to maintain a good balance and crust texture. In our pizza kits, we have supplied you with the amount we would use on a pizza. But always feel free to make them as you like! Be creative and have fun.