The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Drying your starter

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SourFlour's picture
SourFlour

Drying your starter

I just read a comment by Bettie (bwaddle) talking about drying out your starter in an oven overnight so that you can grind it into powder. Can you create comparible breads using your dry starter and your normal starter? Is this how commerial yeast is made?


This seems like an interesting topic to me, and I am curious if people have any experiene they could share.


Thanks,
Danny - Sour Flour
http://www.sourflour.org

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Danny.


It's funny because I just finished drying some starter to take with me on vacation.


Many of the sourdough starers you can get shipped to you come as powders. They are prepared pretty much as Bettie described. Where I live, it's dry enough so you don't need to put the filmed starter in the oven.


I spread about a quarter cup of 65% hydration starter which had been fed last night and refrigerated after an hour on the counter as thin as I could over a sheet of wax paper. In about two hours, it was completely dry and could be flaked off the paper easily. I dumped the flakes into a quarter cup plastic food storage container and put the lid on tight. I'll stick the container in my backpack for the trip. It will be kept at room temperature for about 3 days before I reconstitute it with water and feed it to wake it up for making bread.


I'll report on my experience when I have some experience to report. I expect it to work great.


David

SourFlour's picture
SourFlour

Hi David,


I look forward to hearing about your experience. I think I might try to do some drying as well. I'm curious if the yeast continues to eat at all, how long it can last, and how it effects its activity.


Danny - Sour Flour
http://www.sourflour.org

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

Danny,


I have dried starter several times, some for my own use, some to ship to others.  Dried starter will keep indefinitely but must be reconstituted before use. 


I revive mine by mixing a tablespoon or so of dried starter with 1 tablespoon each of water and flour.  Cover and leave on the counter; continue to add 1 tablespoon each of water and flour every 24 hours until it is nice and bubbly. Then switch over to your normal starter maintenance routine.


Dried starter travels and mails well, and it's good insurance for your normal starter in case you kill it.


Phyl

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

How many feedings does it generally take to revive your dried starter before it's ready to use?


David

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

Usually about three days' worth of 1 Tbs feedings gets it going, then a few 12-hour feedings to build it up to the quantity I need.


Phyl

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Three days plus is more time than I'll have, since the idea is to take the starter on a trip and be able to make bread a couple days into it.


I'm also taking some starter that I mixed with as much flour as it would incorporate. (I think I could play golf with it!) I think an overnight soak, then a couple feedings should revive that one.


I'll be comparing the two methods and will report results.


So you shouldn't worry, I'm also taking along about 5 lbs of baked breads to tide us over until I can bake fresh ones. I measured the miche, and it complies with the carry on luggage parameters. 


David

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Be careful and find out if you have to declare your starter David.  I'm told that Homeland security doesn't like powdered substances on commercial transportation and we'd like to see you back here without handcuffs or a return email address of "david@singsing.gov"

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

What I've observed is that TSA uses a chemical detector on suspicious substances and lets pass accordingly.


I wonder if it would be better in my checked bag or my carry on.


David

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

You might be able to speed up the reviving time by feeding it every 12 hours instead of 24 for the first day or so.