Hi All! I wanted to make a little page where I address the most 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:
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. Theoretically you could convert my starter to gluten-free (through feeding gluten-free flour or organic rice flour over time) but I can't recommend you try as I've never tested myself. I am sorry gluten-free friends!! There are so many of you and I want you to enjoy sourdough too!! Someone make an amazing gluten-free starter and email me please. Update: It seems that some people who consider themselves gluten free so enjoy sourdough as they believe it does not effect them as much or at all. This is well well beyond my expertise so I cannot advise if this is safe for you.
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?
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! Rye starters are great, and really it should do well on any flour.
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.
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
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!
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: Do you offer tracking?
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.
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!
Okay happy baking everyone! Of course if you have any other questions please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to help. Ben