The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Mistakenly used the entire starter; is it possible to save it?

Andreja's picture

Mistakenly used the entire starter; is it possible to save it?

 Yesterday while preparing the bread I have mistakenly used complete sourdough starter in the dough, since I was quite sure that I have some more in the fridge. I realized my mistake when I already made the final dough, which beside starter also included some instant yeast and of course salt.

The starter was very good, about half year old and quite strong that is why I really regretted loosing it. I have taken a bit of the final dough and I am now trying to grow it again, but I am really wondering if I will be able to get the starter of the same quality as original, since the dough also included some yeast.

Does anybody have any experience with such situation? Should I just grow new starter or is it worth trying to get the old one from the piece of the dough?

Any help and comments will be appreciated

Greetings from Slovenia


JoeVa's picture

Don't worry Andreja, your starter is still with you!

Just refresh the starter as usual at room temperature until you think it's stable, give it time and learn from it. It's a good idea to have a backup: you can dry your starter!

Salt and yeast are not a big problem. In old bakery salt is often used to slow down the starter activity when the weather is too hot and culture<->yeast contamination is always there.


Andreja's picture

 Joe thank you; when I have read your answer earlier today I was relived. And when I came home I have found out that part of the final dough (refreshened until now two times) has already started to act like my original starter. The sour smell is not as intensive as it used to be, but for this probably another day or two will be necessary.

Thank you for the idea about drying starter. I will certainly do so when my starter is back to normal.

Best regards


AndyM's picture

Giovanni is right - you can re-build your starter quite effectively.  Salt will slow down the starter's activity, but after a few build-ups, the amount of salt left will be insignificant.  And the yeast might change the balance of the starter for a little bit, but eventually, the starter will return to its original mix of yeasts and micro-organisms.  There is even some evidence that sourdough starters (and many soughdough doughs too) are too acidic for baker's yeast to even survive - by the time you re-make your starter, there might not even be any baker's yeast left.

Best of luck, and Happy Baking.

dulke's picture

This is probably too late, but if you still have the container that you maintained the starter in - unwashed - then the amounts clinging to the sides are enough for you to refresh your original starter. Just add a small quantity of water, scrape down the sides, add a bit of flour, and refresh until you have enough.

Andreja's picture

 Unfortunately, I have put all my starter in the mixing bowl after I have refreshed it last time. The original container was therefore already clean when I mixed final dough.

Anyway, thank you for help. Right now it seems like it will be OK and I will get my starter back from piece of final dough.