The Best Sourdough Starter Container: A Comprehensive Guide

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The Best Sourdough Starter Container: A Comprehensive Guide

I’ve just started learning the art and science of creating a sourdough starter. As any beginner or experienced baker knows, sourdough bread baking is an artisanal process that yields wonderful bread when done right. A key part of success is housing your sourdough starter in an appropriate container as it develops.

From my experience of trial and error of sourdough baking and keeping sourdough starter alive, I’ve compiled the key criteria, options, pros, and cons for sourdough bread containers. My goal is to provide the most comprehensive guide possible to set any home baker up for success. 

Key Criteria For best container for Sourdough Starter 

When selecting a jar container for your sourdough starter, there are a few key criteria to consider:

  • Material
  • Size
  • Shape
  • Lid or Cover
  • Accessories

Ideally, you want to select a container for your sourdough starter jars that meets these criteria:

  •  Made of glass, stoneware or quality BPA-free plastic
  •  1-2 quart capacity
  •  Wide mouth and straight sides
  •  Loose-fitting lid or cover
  • Any useful accessories (markers, spatulas, etc.)

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Glass vs Plastic sourdough starter Containers

The most common starter vessels are glass and plastic. Glass is best for visibility and preventing chemical leaching. However plastic offers more flexibility and durability.

 Glass jar for sourdough starter Pros:

  • See-through to monitor bubbles & rise
  • Non-reactive surface
  • Easy to clean
  • Environmentally friendly

Glass jar for sourdough starter Cons:

  • Heavier if you have mobility issues
  • Risk of breaking if dropped

Plastic jar for sourdough starter Pros:

  • Durable if dropped
  • Lighter weight
  • Some travel options

 Plastic jar for sourdough starter Cons:

  • Can scratch and harbor bacteria
  • Ensure BPA-free
  • Not as sustainable

Consider a combination like a glass vessel for home use and plastic for travel or sharing starters with friends.

What size jar for sourdough starter

You want a container size that gives adequate room for your mature starter to expand during feedings. A good rule of thumb is a capacity that can hold between 100-250g/4-8oz of starter.

This generally translates to a 1-2 quart wide mouth glass jar or plastic tub. If you will store it in a consistently warm spot like a yogurt maker, you can size down. If kept in a cool area, size up to give it room to grow.

Shape and Structure of Sourdough container

A wide mouth, straight sided vessel with no shoulders is ideal. The wider opening makes feeding and stirring easier with less mess or chance of overflow. Straight sides with no narrow “neck” also reduce build up and stuck on gunk that necessitates frequent scrubbing.

Lidding And Covering of Sourdough container

You want a loose-fitting, non-airtight lid. This can be a metal or plastic lid that rests on top, cheesecloth, kitchen towel or paper filters secured with a rubber band. Tight lids can lead to dangerous shattering if gasses build excessive pressure.

Accessories for Sourdough container

Look for kits that offer useful accessories like dough scrapers, measuring cups, transfer containers, markers to track rise levels and growth over time. These can make starter care easier, especially for beginners.

With this foundation on ideal container traits, let’s explore some top-rated options for housing your homemade starter on its journey to oven-ready greatness.

 Best sourdough starter container with lid

best containers for sourdough starter: 16oz Wide Mouth Ball Mason Jar for sourdough starter jar set  

Durable, affordable and perfectly sized, Ball Mason Jars take first prize as a fool-proof sourdough vessel. At under $15 for a set of 3 jars, they offer excellent quality for value. Made in the USA from shatter-resistant glass, they are freezer, oven and easy clean dishwasher safe as well.

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The wide mouth and straight sides make feeding and monitoring a breeze. The SureTight lids form a tight seal for storage that won’t pop off under pressure. Be mindful that the metal lids can rust over time. However plastic lids are sold separately for increased versatility.

Overall, it’s hard to beat these classic jars on price, performance and reliability.

👍 Pros: Durable BPA-free glass, versatile, economical 3-pack, non-reactive

👎 Cons: Lids can rust over time

Rating: 4.8/5 Stars

best jar for sourdough starter: Zunmial Sourdough Starter Kit

For beginner bakers, this specialized kit deserves a podium spot. It bundles all the accessories you need alongside two sized clear glass jars for storage and sharing.

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The initiatory 32oz vessel gives adequate room for a new starter to mature. An 8oz sidekick jar allows you to store a portion separately without hogging fridge space. Both are durable, dishwasher safe and clearly show internal activity.

Extra components include an unbleached muslin cloth, silicone rings to mark rise levels, a dough card and whiteboard pen for tracking feedings. Extra lid colors let you customize. It’s the perfect all-in-one kit for under $40.

👍Pros: beginner-friendly kit, 2 sized jars, handy tools

👎Cons: rare lid seal issues

⛅ Rating: 4.7/5 Stars

KNEADACE Sourdough Starter Jar Set

If going green is important, Kilner offers an eco-friendly starter kit. It includes two 24 oz jars made from 100% recycled glass. One has a handy stainless steel measuring lid. Both jars have a unique cylindrical shape that minimizes dust-catching corners.  Elastic band marked with the days of the week & the time of day gives you an accurate indication of when you fed your starter.

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A flexible silicone spatula and progress tracking rubber bands round out the $40 kit. The materials are completely non-toxic and dishwasher safe. Kilner also provides an eBook with step-by-step guidance for beginners.

👍Pros: eco-friendly recycled glass, guide included, thermometer on jar, Elastic band marked with the days of the week & the time

👎Cons: more spendy

⛅ Rating: 4.6/5 Stars

Deli Plastic 32oz Containers

For easyn and convenient and affordable way to store your starter, this is my go to. Stick to this PBA free plasatic deli container.

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The generous 32oz capacity gives plentiful room for starter development. The loose-fitting lid traps moisture while allowing airflow. At around $25 it comes with. multiple lids and contain is useful if you want to gift some starters to friends and family

👍Pros: affordable, easy to clean, and affordable

👎Cons: not dishwasher safe

⛅ Rating: 4.8/5 Stars

Other Notable Containers

Beyond standard jars and stoneware crocks, some unconventional containers can also work well:

  • Large glass measuring cups
  • Water carafes
  • Mini fishbowls
  • Glass vases

The key is ensuring the materials are food-grade, properly sized, and offer loose covering for airflow. Get creative hunting at thrift stores or raiding the back of kitchen cabinets to repurpose forgotten glassware.

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Essential Accessories 

A few handy tools can make starter care much easier:

  • Dough scraper: Scrapes down sides without damaging glass with metal
  • Transfer container: Moves mature starter out before feedings
  • Digital kitchen scale: Weighs exact ingredient amounts
  • Rubber spatula: Flexible for stirring & mixing
  • Marking rings: Track rise levels between feedings

Spend the extra $20-30 to stock these starter essentials for a frustration-free experience.

Specialized Sourdough Tools

A few specialized products provide helpful functionality:

🔆 Lighted fermentation stations – chamber regulates temperature and shows internal activity

🔆 Fermentation airlock lids – Prevent dangerous shattering from gas pressure

🔆 Electric yogurt makers – Keep optimal 77-80F environment for fast fermentation

While not mandatory, investing $40-60 in tools like these can yield better results if you bake frequently. Otherwise basic jars and accessories will certainly suffice.

Potential Red Flag Containers

Steer clear of the following materials for your developing sourdough colony:

  • Pewter – Contains lead better suited for display than food
  • Crystal – Can leach lead and cadmium over time
  •  Ceramic glazed with lead or cadmium
  • Low quality plastic that could leach BPAs

When sourcing any vessel, ensure it is specifically rated food-grade and non-toxic. Don’t take risks with garage sale finds or hand me down containers with unknown construction. Safety first!

Caring For Your Sourdough container

To keep your starter happy:

  • Choose glass, stoneware or quality plastic
  • Clean with warm soapy water, rinse thoroughly
  • Replace scratched plastic that could harbor bacteria
  • Avoid metal utensils that may damage glass
  •  Store lid loosely rather than fully sealed
  •  Rotate backup containers to reduce build up

Follow this care checklist and your sourdough jar or crock will deliver reliable service for many, many loaves!

Frequently Asked Questions about Sourdough Starter Container

Should you keep sourdough starter in an airtight container?

No, starters need some airflow so lids should rest loosely or use permeable barriers like cloth or paper towels secured with a rubber band. However you don’t want full uncovered exposure that could dry it out. Find the right balance for your environment.

sourdough starter jar open or closed?

Here are some tips on whether to keep a sourdough starter jar open or closed:

  • During initial starter development, it’s best to keep the jar partially covered. This prevents drying out while still allowing air flow for the yeast to thrive. Use a loose fitting lid, cloth, or lightly screw on lid.
  • Once the starter is mature and active, an air tight lid is okay for storage in the fridge to slow down fermentation. Take it out once a week to feed. Before baking, take it out 1-2 days ahead to wake it up.
  • At room temp during feedings, lightly cover again to prevent drying but allow gas release. If you seal it tight, pressure can build and make the jar explode!
  • If seeing bubbles or rise level, keep uncovered or use clear glass. If catching fruit flies is an issue, use an airlock lid or tight lid and open carefully.
  • Rotate jars to reduce stuck on gunk buildup. Glass and some plastics allow seeing inside versus ceramic crocks.

So in summary, starter jars do best open during development and then can handle air tight cold storage once mature. Handle with care when at room temp! Find what works best for your kitchen environment.

What is the best flour for a sourdough starter?

An unbleached white bread flour or all-purpose flour serves as an ideal food for starter colonies. The natural yeast in these flours helps cultivate the fermentation. Whole grain versions work too but may need longer to fully activate.

Can sourdough starter go bad?

If mold or other contaminants take hold, starters can spoil. But even dormant or separated liquid layers can often be revived with consistent feedings to reestablish the yeast balance. Starters tend to be extremely resilient.

Is it ok to store starter in the oven or microwave?

You can leverage the internal light warmth if the oven or microwave will NOT be used at all. Note this clearly to avoid accidentally baking your starter. You also need a vessel that fits the dimensions. Safer alternatives are yogurt makers or proofing boxes that regulate temperature.

Can any airtight, clean container work to store sourdough starter?

Technically yes – people have even used old peanut butter jars cleaned thoroughly on the inside. But glass and certain plastics make monitoring the starter far easier. And non-rigid sides help prevent explosions from gas buildup. Prioritize food-safe and starter-safe materials.

The Best Jar for sourdough starters Ultimately Depends on You

Core starter vessels like Ball jars and stoneware crocks equip beginners through advanced bakers for success. But as a new sourdough baker yourself, don’t overthink the container options. Pay more attention to your ingredient ratios, ferment times and baking technique. An affordable set of wide mouth Mason jars will take you far.

The most important element is your passion, patience and perseverance through the starter creation process. Then the true alchemy happens when your mature starter helps bake your very first perfect artisanal loaf! This makes all the flour-dusted effort worthwhile.

What material do YOU use for your sourdough starter container? Share your experiences in the comments to help the community! Happy baking…

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