Work Around Sourdough Starter's Most Confusing Part

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One of the clichés of the moment is that while on COVID-19 lockdown, every millennial hipster out there has begun cultivating a sourdough starter. What's not to love? It's simple, it's science-y, and it can turn into delicious, crusty bread if you know what you're doing. Of course, the learning curve can be baffling, frustrating, and hilarious. It's likely there are more weird bread bricks out there now than perfectly browned artisanal boules.


Part of it comes down to feeding the starter itself. The best starter — a mixture of regular flour, purified water, and the wild yeasts floating around your kitchen — is a mature one, so be prepared for less-than-inspiring early attempts until your bubbling Mason jar is at least a few weeks old. To get it there, you need to feed it: Three tablespoons of flour to two tablespoons of water is plenty. Even with that small amount, though, your goal is to double the starter. What can you possibly do with all that goop?

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The search term you're looking for is "discard recipes." Rather than tossing half your ravenous starter every few days (especially with the scarcity of flour these days), get familiar with all the baked goods you can muster with starter as an ingredient. Your popovers, waffles, pancakes, and all manner of other treats will be a little more complex and a little less processed. Visit King Arthur Flour's recipe landing page for a sample of what your breakfasts could look like going forward.