It seems like everyone everywhere is baking sourdough bread. If you are just getting started one of the first steps is choosing a container for your sourdough starter.
A sourdough starter is a simple combination of flour and water. Learn how to create your own small starter.
Once these two ingredients are combined the wild yeast that is present in flour is allowed to grow and multiply. Eventually, this wild yeast will be mature and strong enough to leaven a loaf of sourdough bread.
There is a bit of a learning curve when learning to maintain a sourdough starter, but choosing the right container will make the process easier.
If you are just getting started on your sourdough journey you will want to check out my roundup of the best sourdough discard recipes.
I also have a sourdough gift guide that lists some of my favorite sourdough products.
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What to look for when choosing a container for your sourdough starter or discard
The best containers for sourdough starter and discard have a few traits in common.
- Sourdough starter storage containers should be transparent.
- They should have straight sides.
- Choose a storage container with a wide mouth.
- You should also pay attention to the size of the container.
- The best containers should also have well fitting lids.
- Glass storage containers are better than plastic.
Once you have chosen your container, check out this post to learn how long can you store sourdough discard.
Why transparent jars?
Transparent jars allow you to easily monitor the growth of your sourdough starter. Monitoring the size of your starter, its consistency, and the number of bubbles will let you know when your starter is ready to be used.
A clear jar will also allow you to see if there is any hooch forming. Hooch is an alcohol by-product of the fermentation process and is an indicator that your starter is hungry and it is time to feed it again. Hooch can appear in a range of colors from clear to gray.
You can also see if any mold is developing. Unfortunately, if you see mold developing you will need to throw out your sourdough starter or discard.
Why straight sides?
Straight sides make it easy to track how much your starter has risen. Bonus points should be given to containers that already have measurement marks on the side.
Tip: If your container doesn't have measurement marks on the side you can use a rubber band placed around the container to track how much your starter has risen.
Wide-mouth jars are easier to work with. They make it easy to add and remove sourdough starter or discard. A wide-mouth jar is also easier to clean.
What size container is best?
A too-small container will limit the amount of sourdough starter you are able to create. While a too-large container will be difficult to store. I suggest finding a container in the 26-34 oz range. My favorite sized container is one quart in volume which is about 32 ounces. This size is plenty big to produce 100-200 grams of starter which is a typical amount needed for most recipes.
What type of lid is best?
A lid helps prevent the top of your sourdough starter from drying out. You will also want to cover your sourdough container to help prevent mold from forming and bugs from landing in your sourdough starter.
A lid is also useful for preventing spills if you happen to knock your sourdough starter or discard over.
When feeding your starter you want a lid that can be loosened. As sourdough starter expands it produces gas which if it has nowhere to escape will cause pressure to build up in the container and potentially cause the container to crack or burst.
I don't like jars with hinged lids as I find they get in the way when trying to pour the sourdough starter out.
Why are glass containers better than plastic containers?
Cleanliness and sanitation are important when maintaining a sourdough starter. For this reason, I prefer glass containers over plastic containers.
Glass containers can easily be sanitized in the dishwasher to make sure they are completely clean and free from contaminants that can cause mold.
Plastic containers may also react to acidic ingredients.
So what's the best container for storing sourdough starter or discard?
I prefer to use wide-mouth quart-sized canning jars. They are a perfect size, transparent, made of glass, have a wide mouth, and are cheap.
I prefer to have several jars available so that I can move my sourdough starter to a new freshly sanitized container every time I feed it.
Canning jars are available to purchase at Target, Walmart, and most grocery and hardware stores. They are also available to purchase online at Amazon.
Rather than use the standard canning flats and rings that come with canning jars I prefer to buy these reusable canning lids.
Other Storage Options
Most sourdough bakers know Challenger Breadware as the manufacturer of the cast-iron Challenger bread pan. But they also make pretty great sourdough storage containers.
The storage containers are sold in sets of two and come in two different sizes. The containers also have helpful markings along the sides to help you track your sourdough starter's rise.
If you're looking for something a little more stylish for your kitchen counter, I recommend these 1.5 liter Weck Tulip jars. They have a wide mouth and a shape that is easy to clean.
If you prefer a plastic container, I recommend these Cambro 1 Quart Storage containers. These containers are sturdy which makes them a favorite in professional kitchens. Each container has large easy to read markings and a wide-open mouth. These plastic containers are also BPA-free.
The lids do seal tightly so make sure to tilt the lid slightly to allow excess gas to escape.
Thanks for Reading!
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