The Fresh Loaf

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Dried Ischia Ruined?

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rcbaughn's picture
rcbaughn

Dried Ischia Ruined?

So I had a friend mail me some of their Ischia starter dried about 7 months ago, and after reactivating it with only half the dried amount sent, I shoved the other part in the drawer in my bedroom and left it be. It was dark in there and maintained at room temp, which is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit in my home. 

The problem I have is that I left my starter while on vacation at room temp and came back to it absolutely dead. No way it was coming back, so know I am wondering if I ruined this dried starter? Today I was reviewing on how to reactivate dried starter and noticed that people were saying, "Remove dried starter from the fridge or freezer." I had no idea that the common protocol was the store dried starter in the fridge or freezer and assumed that it would be fine in its dried state at room temperature. I have since dissolved all the dry starter that I have and have fed it twice now, once as soon as it was dissolved to 100% hydration. I maintained the hydration at that by feeding about 2 tablespoons each of water/flour as said before at the 24 hour mark.

I am seriously concerned that most of the yeast is dead, and that the Ischia culture, while still there in small numbers maybe, will be overrun by my local wold yeast and killed off, resulting in a completely new strain without the Ischia's strong and fast lift capabilities. Am I correct in having this fear, or will even a small number of the Ischia culture be enough to propagate and survive an invasion of new fungi if it happens? I seriously hope that I haven't allowed my starter to become ruined, I absolutely LOVE the culture and the prospect of losing it upsets me severely.  

jeb's picture
jeb

The only way to really know is to try to refresh it and see.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

no fancy refrigeration but my house is on the cool side.  So.    

The trick is not to dilute too much.  Do not discard in the first 3 days, just add a little more food if you think it needs it.  When the spores have awaken, yeast activity starts.  

WoodenSpoon's picture
WoodenSpoon

But either way I wouldn't beat my self up over it, after a some uses and refreshes the starter will be more local then Ischia culture then eventually completly unrelated to its origional Ischia make up,.. unless you live on the island that is.

 

mariana's picture
mariana

rcbaughn, dried starters do best when kept at room temperature (up to a year), worse, when kept refrigerated (up to 3 months) and don't do well at all when frozen. commercial dried starters have these rules for them, so domestic dried starters should be treated equally. So you did just the right thing.

Expect at least 2 days for your starter to get going. Feed very frugally, very little water and flour, and only if you checked the acidity and it is already highly acidic. I use pH paper to test my starter during restoration phase, to make sure it has pH equal to4.0-4.5, but you can simply taste the liquid. It should taste distinctly acidic, that's the signal that you can add a little flour and water to it.  Some starters take only 24 hrs to recover from dried form, others - up to 48 hours.

Don't worry about the local microflora (airborn matter) or flour microflora (which is from the regions where wheat is grown and milled, where it was packaged and transported). Your dried starter has way more beasties than white flour will every have. Starter has several billion of yeast and bacteria cells per gram of flour and white flour - only a hundred or so. So feed only with white flour, only if you starter is very acidic to taste and and watch it blossom.

best wishes,

mariana

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

:)

mariana's picture
mariana

Thank you, Mini. I have used this site as a great source of info for years and I am very grateful, including to you personally, for your always helpful answers in discussion threads. so I decided to contribute a little, to give back :)

clazar123's picture
clazar123

He's a great fellow-full of life!

5 years ago, at a flea market on a hot summer day,I paid 25 cents for a mason-type jar with the metal bail and inside was a dried packet of Sourdough Jack with the original instructions and label (from the 60's).I thought there was not a chance it would still work but I was new to bread so I waited. I waited til I knew what I was doing with sourdough and starters and finally I revived him.He was happy to be alive and went gangbusters right from the start!He hadn't had a bath in about 40 years and originally tasted like old,rancid flour-he was in a white whole wheat flour. I washed him up over several feedings and he is a great starter!

So try it!

 

rcbaughn's picture
rcbaughn

Thank y'all so much for the help! I haven't replied recently but have been reading all the replies on my iPhone though! I activated it a few days ago shortly after I posted here and today I can happily say that the little guys have fully came back to life and raising the goop wonderfully! 

Mariana, thank you so much for the amazing response, it is so nice to find people on here that are so extremely knowledgeable and willing to share that knowledge with those of us who do not have just a vast understanding of baking and bread. Hopefully I will get there one day though!

And Clazar123, that is absolutely amazing. I guess I had nothing to worry about with my seven month old one!