The Fresh Loaf

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"backing up" my starter..

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ArieArie's picture
ArieArie

"backing up" my starter..

I was always paranoid about my starter dying or mutating.. every year or so I dry some and save in the freezer in case I need it. 


I have 6 years worth of starter.


Last month I did something really stupid and killed my starter.  


To give a starter a good start after feeding, I sometime put it in the oven with the light on until it bubbles nicely.


and of course I forgot about it, and turned on the over to preheat to 500f.  when I realized what I did it was too late and teh starter was coocked, literally.


 


So I dug out a dry 2006 version and in 2 days I had starter again.


 


Here is how I dry.  I make a wet starter, and let it go to nice fermentation, and then I spread ti on 2 pan with Silpat, and let it dry for 2 days.. 


once dry, I crumble it, and put it in in a zip-lock bag, in the freezer.



 


 


 


 



 


 


 

marc's picture
marc

Could the same be done with a firm starter? Couldn't I simpy roll out the firm starter into the thinnest layer possible and then let it dry in the same manner?


What steps do you use to reconstitute your starter.

Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

Simply water down a chunk of the starter until it is a spreadable consistency, then let it dry. There's no point spending the time and effort trying to roll it out that thin.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to roll a glob of thick starter into flour and then roll out thin and flat using flour when needed.   Let dry on paper towel.  Crush to fit into jar.   

Loves To Cook's picture
Loves To Cook

Yesterday I tried to activate a new starter from Goldrush Sourdough products.  Since it was cold here and the instructions said to place in a draft-free area (80-90 degrees) for 24 hours, I put it in my oven with the just the light on late afternoon.  When I checked on it this morning, the bowl was HOT. and starter measured 120 degrees with a quick read thermometer.  


Although there was some slight bubbling before I put it in the oven, there is none now.  I stirred slightly to reincorporate the clear liquid I found on top this morning.  No sign of any bubbling now...do you think it's totally dead, or does any one have any ideas for revival?


Just read another post that makes me think it could be important to say that the aroma from my "apparently dead" starter is quite appealing!!  It is pleasantly sour and yeasty.  Hope that helps with prognosis!


Vicki

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I take it you didn't have one of those new energy saver light bulbs installed? 


Most Yeast is killed at 122°F  and it might still survive 5° under that but I'm not sure there is anything alive.  Don't dump it yet.  How much do you have?  You could stir in a little water and some more flour to make it thick and see what happens overnight.  This time leave the oven ajar with a wooden spoon or a twisted towel stuck in the door to make a little gap to let excess heat out.   If your room is warmer than 70°F, leave it out on the counter.   Let's hope your thermometer runs high.  


Mini

Loves To Cook's picture
Loves To Cook

Hi Mini...no energy saver lights I guess...I'm afraid they may be halogen. 


At any rate, it was 3 cups of flour, 3 cups of water and the starter.  When I just now stirred it to try to gauge how much water and flour I should add to make it thick, it was really thick already (like a pancake batter), so I stirred the clear liquid on top into the mix.  


After I did, there were a few small bubbles (which I attributed to the stirring) so I poked them to eliminate them, but before I got the saran wrap back on the bowl, there were 3 large, 3 medium and about 5 small bubbles...which got me very excited!!  


I just left those bubbles alone and will leave the bowl on the counter tonight (room temp is currently 73).  If there are additional bubbles in the morning, should I add more water and flour?


I hope I didn't kill Herman...he seems like such a nice little starter!


Vicki

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Don't wait until morning.   At least divide it into two portions and thick one of them up.  No problem being a little thicker than pancake batter.  Stirring helps circulate the beasties.  Herman might have been saved by sheer mass.  Pay attention to the water that separates on top.  One or two bubbles does not make a foam, that is what you're looking for.


About your instructions, what do they recommend at this point?


Mini

Loves To Cook's picture
Loves To Cook

The instructions say "if the starter does not activate within 24 hours, give it more time.  Things like humidity, weather. air quality and other variances can effect the process.  If after 4 days the sponge still looks inactive, it may need to be replaced with a new culture."


While sending you a private message, the large bubbles have disappeared.  I'll divide into two portions and add some flour to one.  Herman is really quite thick, but I'll plop a bit of flour into one portion and stir them both like crazy and hope for the best!  The bubbles I saw earlier were not in the water on top, but in the mass.  A few of the smaller bubbles remain in the mass, so hopefully stirring will make them get frisky!


The bubbles in the grape starter I mentioned in my private message to you are definitely creating foam...hopefully Herman will too by morning!


Thanks, 


Vicki