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?
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.