The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Long term levain storage

  • Pin It
MANNA's picture
MANNA

Long term levain storage

I placed my starter into long term storage. I took my starter after a feeding and kneaded flour into it untill it was a stiff dough. Probaly around 50 percent hydration. I then buried it in a jar of fresh flour and placed it in the fridge. Any thoughts on this pratice. I have been reading up on canning/preserving food and now I got a case of the he-be-ge-be's. The chapter on hazards of canning got me thinking on what happens if a sourdough is not maintained properly. We do run a risk of bochalism.

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

That is exactly what I do and it has worked every time for months on end. When ready to use again take out a piece and float it in warm water till it softens. Add enough flour to make a 100% approx hydration and let it bubble up. You will be very pleased with the strength that your starter has maintained. Mine doubles in a couple hours after being stored for months. Good Luck. c

tchism's picture
tchism

I've used this method and have revived starter stored for over two years with no problem.

http://www.breadtopia.com/drying-sourdough-starter-for-long-term-storage/

 

Ford's picture
Ford

I keep a small amount of air dried starter in a plastic bag to use in case of loss of my liquid starters.

Ford

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I did this recently and after about 2 months tried to break off a piece and almost broke out a hacksaw. That little ball of dried dough was TOUGH!

I have taken some very active starter and put a thin layer on some parchment paper to dry into flakes and then frozen those (overkill,I suppose),but I only did that short term.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

just fine depending on what you mean by long but a couple years should be OK.

It reminds me of Mini's Ancient Way, not that Mini is ancient to make a starter,  Take a walnut sized piece of dough with just whole wheat and water at 66% hydration and put it in a brown paper bag that has enough AP flour in it to surround the ball on all sides and just place it on top of the fridge rather than in it.  I week just crack open the hard geode and scrape out the soft inside and feed it for a couple if days and presto - new starter.  I actually ground up the hard shell and it made a starter too!

MANNA's picture
MANNA

This is the first time storing my culture like this. I will take it out this week after being in there for 5 weeks. We will see how it has kept. Reading more about food science stuff and preserving food has been enlightening and also frightening. Our process of making a culture really hinges on the acid production getting it into a safe zone that wont make us sick when we eat it. This summer I will make my first preserves of local fruit and the heirloom tomatoes that I wait all year for. I hope that my venture doesnt make my whole family sick.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

at 450 F to 205 F on the inside will kill anything harmful so no worries about that hut preserving food is another story entirely.  Getting the salt and vinegar right, sometimes sugar too,  and then canning properly for the right time and making sure that the lids seal is the key since these foods can be eaten without heating them again.  No worries, just follow a proven recipe exactly and make sure that no corners get cut and that the lids seal. 

Enjoy preserving food - I never get enough heirloom tomatoes to can them  - lucky you.

My normal rye starter is stored in the fridge at 66% hydration for 4 - 5 weeks all the time for more than a year now,   

MANNA's picture
MANNA

My starter survived fine in the fridge. I removed a hard lump from the jar and it had a sharp acidic smell. I opened the lump to find a gooey center that I used to inoculate a new batch.