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Willa Rehydration & Feeding Instructions

Rehydration Instructions

Ingredients:
• Willa Freeze-dried Starter
• Unbleached All-purpose Flour
• Filtered Water*

*If your tap water comes from the city water supply, consider using filtered or bottled water to avoid traces of chlorine which may potentially damage your starter.

Tools:
• Kitchen Scale
• Two, 1 quart Glass Jars with Sealable Lids
• Wooden Spatula or Spoon

Day 1—Morning
• Place 5 grams dried sourdough starter in one of the 1 quart glass jars. Add 50 grams of warm water to the jar. Stir until the dry starter is completely submerged in the water. Let this mixture sit for a few minutes, allowing the starter to absorb the water. Next, add 20 grams of flour and stir with a spatula until well combined. Cover loosely with a lid (slightly screwed on but not tight) and store at room temperature for 24 hours. We are using slightly more water than flour in this first feeding because a more hydrated starter allows the good bacteria to ferment more effectively.

Day 2—Morning
• The mixture will look smooth but not alive yet. Some of the water might have separated from the mixture, this is normal. With both 1 quart jars in front of you (one with the starter mixture and the other clean and empty), transport 10 grams of starter mixture into the clean jar and discard the remaining mixture in the old jar. Add 25 grams of room temperature water and 25 grams of flour. Mix with a wooden spatula until well combined. Cover loosely with a lid and store at room temperature for 24 hours.

Day 3—Morning
• The mixture will look smooth and thin, and you may notice a few bubbles on the surface. Some of the water might have separated from the mixture, this is normal. With both 1 quart jars in front of you (one with the starter mixture and the other clean and empty), transport 10 grams of starter mixture into the clean jar and discard the remaining mixture in the old jar. Add 25 grams of room temperature water and 25 grams of flour. Mix with a wooden spatula until well combined. Cover loosely with a lid and store at room temperature for 24 hours.

Day 4—Morning
The mixture won’t look much different, besides a few more bubbles on the surface. Repeat the same steps with both 1 quart jars in front of you (one with the starter mixture and the other clean and empty), transport 10 grams of starter mixture into the clean jar and discard the remaining mixture in the old jar. Add 25 grams of room temperature water and 25 grams of flour. Mix with a wooden spatula until well combined. Cover loosely with a lid and store at room temperature for 24 hours.

Day 4—Evening
• About 12 hours later, you’ll notice the starter has slightly grown. There will be many small bubbles on the surface and sides of the jar. Continue storing at room temperature.

Day 5—Morning
• You’ll notice the starter has grown in volume. There will be small and big bubbles not only on the surface of the mixture but also below (these can be seen through the side of your glass jar). At this point, you can start baking with your starter. Congratulations! From this point forward, you’ll feed your starter daily by combining 30 grams of starter mixture, 125 grams of water and 140 grams of flour. (For detailed instructions on daily feedings, see pages 4-5).

Common Issues:
If your starter is bubbly but not rising after you’ve completed the 5-day rehydration instructions and fed your starter a few times, double-check the feeding instructions on page 4 and make sure you are following them closely. If you are still having issues, temperature could be your problem. Starter loves warmth, around 76° Fahrenheit and if your current storage space isn’t warm, we suggest placing it in an area such as close to a fireplace, next to your oven, or in a cupboard close to a heater (not too close, we don’t want to risk cooking the mixture).

Feeding Instructions

Ingredients:
• 30 grams Rehydrated Willa Sourdough Starter
• 140 grams Unbleached All-purpose Flour
• 125 grams Filtered Water*

*If your tap water comes from the city water supply, consider using filtered or bottled water to avoid traces of chlorine which may potentially damage your starter.


Tools:
Kitchen Scale
• Two, 1 quart Glass Jars with Sealable Lids
• Wooden Spatula or Spoon


Introduction:
• A sourdough starter is an active organism which means it needs to be fed regularly to stay healthy. After each feeding, a mature starter will grow 3-4x in volume in a 12-24 hour period and then begin to fall back down. I feed mine every 24 hours when I’m baking bread regularly. I find that my bread turns out best when I bake with a starter that has been fed and reached peak activity, before it has collapsed.

Feeding Instructions:
• Gather your two 1 quart glass jars, one with your current starter mixture and the other being clean and empty. Transport 30 grams of the starter mixture into your empty 1 quart glass jar and discard the remaining mixture in the old jar (or save it in a separate, sealed container in your fridge for discard recipes). Add 125 grams of room temperature water to the jar and mix well. Next, add 140 grams flour to the jar and stir until combined. Cover loosely with a lid and place it in a temperate location. Repeat daily.

Discard Notes:
• For the 2 jar method, you will always discard some starter, leaving the 30 grams required for each feeding. If you do not get rid of a portion of your starter at each feeding, it will require larger and larger quantities of flour and water to provide food for your Willa. 30 grams of starter is the perfect measurement to sustain our bread recipe. Wondering what to do with your discard? There are countless recipes online to help you keep this mixture from going to waste. We like to stockpile discard in our fridge because it lasts well without having to be fed and adds that sourdough taste that can elevate many recipes. Make sure to store your discard in an airtight glass jar with the lid sealed. Sourdough discard is best for using in recipes within 7-14 days of being discarded. If stored correctly, a mature discard (over 6 months old) can last for months in the fridge, even years due to its well developed yeast and bacteria colonies. This discard is best used as the first step to building a healthy starter and I would not recommend using it directly in recipes. A younger starter (less than 6 months old) will have discard that is best used within 7 days of refrigerating, before it turns too acidic. I suggest not putting sourdough starter down the sink as it dries hard like cement. If you aren’t planning on storing it, throw it away or add it to your compost pile.

Storage & Travel Notes:
• You may refrigerate your sourdough starter for longer periods if necessary. Cold temperatures slow fermentation, and will extend how long your starter can sit between feedings. To do so, make the lid airtight once the starter has been fed and fallen back down. You can keep it in the fridge for months, but must take it out and feed it once a week to maintain it. Depending on how long it has been refrigerated, your starter may require an additional 2-3 daily feedings at room temperature before it has resumed regular activity and is strong enough for baking bread. To test your starter’s strength, place a heap into a bowl of water. If it floats, it is strong enough to bake with. If your starter has been left in the fridge for a long period of time and has developed a thick, dark layer of liquid on the top, it can be revived. Pour off the liquid layer and feed as usual. Make sure to feed consistently for at least a week before baking bread or placing your starter back in the fridge. If there are ever any visible signs of mold on your starter it must be thrown away.