Breadwinner Device Guide

Thanks for buying a Breadwinner.

Hi! If you are just getting started with your Breadwinner device or you have extra questions, you’re in the right place.

We’ve made this page to explain some of the more subtle design and interaction features that aren’t critical enough to include in your Getting Started guide, which you surely read thoroughly when you received your jar.

If we haven’t covered something here, or you’re confused about something the device is doing or not doing, please drop us a line at [email protected] – we’d love to hear from you!

If real time chat is more your thing, we've also got a bubbling Breadwinner community on Discord. Click here to join up.

How to Set Up Breadwinner

1. Open the battery compartment by aligning the marks on the side of the lid.

2. Insert four fresh AA batteries (rechargeables are great!), following the markings on the unit.

3. If you see the LEDs light up, awesome! Close the battery compartment.

4. Using a phone or a computer, join a WiFi network called “Breadwinner”. You'll see three questions that will help Breadwinner find the WiFi in your home that you'd like to use.

5. The last question is your email address— this is how you'll be able to find your starter's vitality information on We need this for your device to work! Your email is never shared externally.

6. Once you've pressed “Save” on the little webpage, wait a couple minutes; this gives your Breadwinner time to reboot and associate with your chosen WiFi network.

7. Wait for an email confirmation from Breadwinner to finish setting up your account.

How to Use Breadwinner

Every time you feed your starter, click the top of the Breadwinner jar (we made a little finger-spot to show where to click). Clicking the jar tells our servers to start watching your jar extra closely so we can notify you when it's ready to bake with. You should feel a satisfying little CLICK when you've clicked your device and see the jar flash ORANGE three times to tell you it's now monitoring your starter's growth.

When your starter is ready to use, you'll see the Breadwinner start gently pulsing GREEN. The ripeness window for starters is usually about three hours.

Once you've fed your starter, make sure to login so you can visit your starter's dashboard.

When your starter hits its peak you’ll get a notification, and a full day after feeding you’ll get a report sent to your email address with how it did.

If you're done baking for a while, it's OK to put your Breadwinner jar in the fridge to slow down its metabolism (that's why the part of the lid with electronics comes off), Just cover the hole in the top with a standard metal Mason jar lid while it's in there (electronics don't like cold!)

Tips & Tricks

Discard all but 100g of starter each feeding, and feed your starter with approximately 100g of fresh food (e.g. 50g flour, 50g water) if you’re using the 16oz mason jar – any more and you’ll risk an overflow!

If your starter is ripe but you won't be ready to use it in the next few hours, place it somewhere cool—you should be able to use it within 6 hours of ripeness if you tweak your recipe to use slightly warmer water than usual in your bulk ferment.

Temperature is key to controlling the speed of your starter's ripening—after a few feedings you should be able to learn your starter's particular time-to-ripeness. Warmer spots will ripen faster, cooler will slow it down.

If you miss your starter's ripeness window but still want to bake, give it a shot—you may need to let the bulk fermentation go longer though. If you aren’t baking, just do your discard as usual and toss it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake again.

If you fed your starter but forgot to click the lid, just click it now! We’ll detect a peak as best we can and let you know when we think the starter is ready.

What does ____ light pattern mean?

Here’s a guide to all the possible LED patterns that your device will display. The really important ones will repeat, so they’re hard to miss - the other animations will usually just happen once and they’re not as important unless you’re trying to solve a Breadwinner mystery…

Five short ORANGE blinks

This happens when you press the feeding button - if you pressed it by accident, no worries, you can just ignore it or head to your starter’s page to cancel the button press

One repeating GREEN breath

This means your starter is ready to use! If you want to turn it off once you’ve used your starter, you can do so from your starter’s profile page.

One repeating PINK blink

This means your Breadwinner is hosting a WiFi portal right now, waiting for you to log in and tell it how to access your home’s WiFi network.

Three short ORANGE blinks

This means your Breadwinner has rebooted and successfully connected to the internet.

Three short PINK blinks

This will happen after you press-and-hold the button for more than five seconds - it means your Breadwinner is going to reset itself and will reboot so you can do the initial device setup again.

Two short repeating RED blinks

This is a general-purpose pattern that means we have a message for you - please check your starter’s profile page to see what it is. An example would be that you have put Breadwinner in a too-hot or out-of-range location, or something along those lines.

Five short repeating RED blinks

This means your Breadwinner device has not been able to connect to your WiFi in over 5 hours. Please check your WiFi status and look around for items that may cause interference. If everything seems fine, try moving the Breadwinner closer to your router if needed.

One short repeating RED blink

This means your battery is running low - you have some time left, but please remember to refresh the batteries soon!

BLUE Progress Blink

This means your Breadwinner is automatically updating its firmware. If it gets stuck in this state, please reset it.

Flickering FAINT BLUE

This means your Breadwinner doesn't even have enough battery voltage to boot up. Try it with a fresh set of AA batteries and you should be good to go!

Power & Battery Life

How do I turn off Breadwinner?

Breadwinner tries to estimate the best time to be active and turns off a couple hours after your starter hits its peak. If your starter never reaches a peak, Breadwinner will stay on for 36 hours after each time you press the button.

There's no need to manually remove batteries or turn off Breadwinner, it should manage it's power efficiently without much interaction.

How long do Breadwinner's batteries last?

We've designed the power management to shoot for weeks to months of use, assuming you're feeding your starter a couple of times a week.

Our current estimates are that you should get between 40-50 feedings per set of batteries, assuming your starter is behaving normally.

What type of AA batteries can I use with Breadwinner?

The good news is that all kinds of AA batteries work and we've extensively tested NiMH batteries and they're fine.

The best performance tends to be with non-rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries.

WiFi Connectivity

How do I reset my Breadwinner to join a different network?

Breadwinner will delete any WiFi SSID settings and user account information if you click and hold it for 5-6 seconds. The light should turn on RED and turn off and then it will reboot and flash PINK while it waits for you to connect again.

Once it reboots, check the setup section above to set up your Breadwinner again.

What if my Breadwinner won't connect?

If you encounter issues when trying to connect your Breadwinner device to WiFi (especially when waiting for the captive portal that the device launches for initial setup) here are a few tips to help troubleshoot and resolve these issues:

Device Compatibility: Not all devices interact with captive portals in the same way. We've noticed that iOS devices generally connect more reliably. Some users have reported difficulties when using Android or Windows systems. If you're having trouble with one type of device, try connecting with another, especially an iOS device if available.

Browser Issues: Sometimes, the problem may not be with your device but with the browser you are using. If the login page for the WiFi network doesn't show up, it might be due to specific browser or operating system settings. For a guide on how to address this, check out this article on resolving issues with public WiFi login pages.

If you continue to experience difficulties or have other questions regarding the setup, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].

Different Jar Sizes

You have the flexibility to change the jar size for your Breadwinner device. Whether you are scaling up for larger batches or down for a smaller one, we've got you covered.

Simply go to your Breadwinner settings and select the 'Jar Size' option. From there, you can choose the size that best fits your baking needs.

Remember, adjusting the jar size in your settings helps ensure accurate measurements and the best possible results with your starter!

Rehydrating Starter

How do I rehydrate some starter that was sent to me?

Dehydrating starter is the best way to send it through the mail – it's lightweight, has basically infinite shelf-life, and can be rehydrated easily. Here's how to do it:

Step 1:

Select one large flake and set it aside - this is your doomsday backup. It'll keep forever int he freezer, and anywhere dry.

Step 2:

Wet the rest of the flakes with good water and wait for them to become a slurry.

Step 3:

Mix a 1:1 ratio by weight of unbleached flour and good water, at least 100g of each for the first few feedings.

Step 4:

Stir vigorously to aerate.

Have more questions about starters and Breadwinner? Check out our FAQ.

Follow Breadwinner

Meet Fred

Aside from baking bread, I love surfing, playing piano, writing, emoji and my two cats. I was the second employee at Kickstarter where I led their data team but have also worked for Creative Commons, Y Combinator, and the Wilton Public Library.

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