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I am a pretty busy person, and the last two times I've started a sourdough starter, I've ended up forgetting to feed it, and it went bad. I never got anything good out of it, but there were times where it seemed pretty alive (bubbling, etc.). Are there any appliances which automate the feeding of a starter? (Including those not intended for it?)

Thanks in advance!

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If you're busy, it's likely you have an appointment calendar. I've found it very helpful to add these "silly, one-off" tasks as appointments - especially for simple tasks which don't take long. – overslacked Nov 13 '11 at 22:19
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I have not heard of any machine of that nature, and I try to keep up with an assortment of home beer brewing sources. If anyone would have come up with something, it would probably be brewers, since we tend to use large amounts of live yeast. About the most advanced thing I have heard of is storing wort in Nalgene bottles after boiling and using that for a starter. I can't think of an analog for sourdough that would be safe and keep the starter maintained with a good flavor. Pro brewers or bakers may have a tool that I'm unaware of, though.

I'm sure you could come up with some sort of Rube Goldberg machine to feed your starter, but really, it's like taking care of any living thing. You have to water and feed plants, animals, and yeast cultures. It's a small amount of work, too, really. Add water, flour, maybe some sugar, and stir. You might want to stick with non-sourdough breads if you can't make that kind of time investment.

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I think it's more about consistency than the amount of time spent. But, perhaps just being smarter about refrigerating it after it gets started will be best, like this answer mentions,… – gatoatigrado Nov 13 '11 at 3:43

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