The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to tell if a Sourdough Starter still alive

jc's picture

How to tell if a Sourdough Starter still alive

How to tell if a sourdough starter is still alive? If a sourdough starter is dead, is there anyway to rescue it? What happen if use dead sourdough starter in bread?

JoeVa's picture

You can find a lot of information on TFL about starter activity.

Here two simple observations:

- If you refresh it (ie add to 1 part by weight of starter 2 part of flour and 2 part of water), it should at least double in a reasonable time at a reasonable temperature. You should see bubble and yeast activity.

- Ones doubled it should smell good: sweet, slightly acid, fruity like a light white wine. I also taste my starter sometimes ...

If you starter is old (one month in the back of the refrigerator) I think you can activate it with some refreshment cycles. Start with a good feeding ration (starter:water:flour) 1:1:1 and be patient. You could use rye flour during the first two refreshments. Observe the starter, and learn from it, remember it's alive!

The last question: if you put dead starter in the dough it won't rise. And if you bake it, it will be a brick. And if you eat it I hope the starter was not infected by bad bacteria.

I hope your starter rise.