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Hi All! I wanted to make a little page where I address some common questions I get over email or social media.  Please note I have another page where I address baking tools and other things you might need to get started. Check it out here:  

If you are completely new to Baking or sourdough baking, please visit my page What is a Sourdough Starter? (And why you should want One!)

Finally, there is a bit of overlap here with my Sourdough Tips and Troubleshooting Page.   If you are looking for help and advice with the activation process please take a peak there.  

Ok lets dive in!

Q:  How many breads will this starter make?

A:  INFINITY BREADS!*  As long as you keep it happy with it's favourite food (flour and water yum!) it will last a lifetime.  The key is you never use it up completely, and even a teaspoon left over can be fed and will zoom back and be overflowing your jar in no time.    

*If you don't bake enough, and don't discard before feeding your starter will grow exponentially and quickly consume all space in the known universe.   Kensington Sourdough accepts no responsibility for Malthusian nightmare scenarios or AI risk.




Q:  Is your starter gluten-free?  Do you offer a gluten-free starter?   

A: Sorry, there is gluten.  Many bakers have converted my starter to gluten-free and had great results!  Please check out my page:  Creating A Gluten Free Sourdough Starter!

Q: How long will your starter last in dried form?  Will it survive mailing to Arizona in the heat?  The Yukon in the cold?  Can I store it for a while before using it?

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A: In 2019 a scientist revived dried starter from 4500 year old Egyptian pots.  Apparently it was pretty good!  In any event I have personally revived this starter that was stored in a cool dark place for three years and it roared back to life.  It will freeze fine, but I recommend keeping the starter away from anything over 140F.   As usual if you accidentally bake it or something similar and it shuffles it off its mortal crumb, just let me know and I will send you a new one for cheap or free, depending on how I judge the circumstances morally.  

Q:  Can I feed it Rye Flour?  Can I feed it [some other fancy flour]?

A: Yes! BUT*  Rye starters are great, and really it should do well on any flour. 

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I use all-purpose for cost reasons as I go through A LOT of flour feeding and maintaining my starters.  I like to save my fancy flour for baking.  Note that when you switch up flours that you feed it there might be a day or two of reduced activity as the starter adapts.   

 *BUT please activate your starter with a good fresh bag of All Purpose Flour.  This is the food it is used to, and it is a bit unfair to ask it to come back to life AND adjust to a new food source at the same time.   Once it is active it will happily tolerate a new flour! 

Q:  My starter is overflowing and it is only day 3! (or 4 or 5 or ...).  What should I do?

Sometimes starters will take off during activation and will be ready much sooner than 7 days.   In this case it is usually ok to skip to the Day 7 instructions and start baking!  Note:  Please ensure your starter looks and smells good before using and I would not use it before day five to ensure it is really active and established.    

Note:  It is quite common that starters are ready early..... but don't fret if you do not have one of these starters and it takes the full seven days.  The end colony will be the exact same!


Q:  My digital scale is only calibrated to .1 gram and I am worried this won't be accurate enough to activate and feed the starter as precisely as I want to!  How can we be perfect here, literally?  

A:  I want you to think of your starter as a unique pet (because it is) that lives in

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your unique environment (as it does)!   You task is to develop instincts and learn how your one of a kind starter likes to be fed and maintained for optimal starter happiness.  I know that this is a hard pill to swallow for the by the book perfectionists (you know who you are) but don't worry -- later when the starter is mature and you are baking you can control freak to your little heart's content!  

During activation and the first few weeks, however, please start with my instructions but also use your senses and enjoy the process of figuring out what is working best.  And please keep it thick!


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Q:  My starter has a clear liquid on the top!  Is it ruined?  

No!  It is hungry!  That is called the "hooch" and you can dump it off or stir it in.  Try to feed it a bit thicker next time.  This is my advice for everything... always keep it thick!  

Q: My starter smells like nail polish remover! Should I chuck it? 

No!  It is hungry.  See above.... stir in a touch of flour.  Also I like the nail polish smell.

Q: My starter has a hard dried crust on the top!  Is that bad?

No!  That just means it rose quickly to the top of the jar, then fell again slightly, allowing the top layer to dry out.  All my starters have this happen and I just stir in the crust part when I discard and feed!

Q: Is this mold?

Mold is rare but can happen. The culprit is usually either mold spores nearby (such as from a food source or in old flour) or cleaning solution residue in the jar weakening the starter.    Once the starter is active it is pretty bullet proof!  But while it is activating there can be some vulnerability.   

Q: My starter is dead!  What did I do wrong?

Wait!  Are you sure?  A starter once active is actually really hard to kill!  If you have neglected it for a long time it might seem dead, however it's likely not! See: How to Revive a "Dead" Sourdough Starter


Q: Do you offer tracking?  

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A:  Sorry no.  The cost of shipping with tracking would add quite a bit of cost to the orders.  This is a fun (and I think great) product that I love sharing, and I want it to be affordable to everyone, especially given the current economic climate. 

"Official" shipping times are 4-6 days to the US and 3-5 within Canada.  

Please note that while the majority of my orders have been not too far off these timeframes, a small fraction of orders have been substantially delayed, likely due to COVID-19 challenges with the postal services.  This has been improving with both the Canadian and US postal services of late, and all orders are making it eventually, but if you find that its been 14 days or more since your order has shipped then please email me at   I have no problem sending a second order to chase it that hopefully finds a faster truck.  If you end up with two you will have a nice gift or a backup.  I appreciate everyone's patience -- I also want you to get baking ASAP!


Q: Do you offer group orders?

A: Sure! Message me.  I have accommodated fairly large requests for gifts to clients for example, and depending on the size of the order can offer a group rate and/or customized gift cards etc. 

Q: I lost my activation instructions!   

A: It happens!  Here is an electronic copy!


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Okay happy baking everyone!  Of course if you have any other questions please contact me at and I will be happy to help.  Ben





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