The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Looking for direction on refreshing starter

dasmueller's picture

Looking for direction on refreshing starter

I am in the process of attempting to refresh the mother starter I made a few months ago and put in the freezer. It was made w the pineapple juice mix frpm ABED. The frozen pc was removed from the freezer two days ago and left to sit out overnight.   Yesterday I took the 2.5 oz pc and added 3 oz of rye flour and 4 oz of H2O.  The result was a very stiff consistency.  Approx 7 hrs later I added 3 oz of unbleached flour and 3 oz of H2O which gave a softer feel to the starter.  Until about 6 hrs ago there was little if any sign of activity. I now seem to be getting some movement.  Am I on the right path ?  Are there any suggestions on how to proceed ?  My thought was to refrigerate the starter tomorrow and then continue to feed on a 3 day basis baking 10 days from now using the Pain au Levain recipe from ABED. The 1st time the starter was used the bread was fine but had no sour taste as the starter was probably too fresh. I am hoping the 12 day cycle will improve that. ??


pmccool's picture

Disclaimer: I have never frozen a starter.

Observation: Freezing doesn't necessarily kill microorganisms, but it doesn't benefit them, either.

Since your starter has been in its equivalent of a gulag above the Arctic Circle, why not give it a few days on the beach?  Take an ounce or so of the starter, feed it with a couple of ounces of flour and an ounce or two of water, then park it somewhere nice and warm.  That might be on top of your refrigerator, near a radiator, in an ice chest with a container of hot water, anywhere that maintains a temperature above 70F and less than 85F.  Do the discard and refeed cycles twice a day for several days and your starter should bounce back to its bubbly self.  Good idea to include some rye in the feedings, too.

Then you can park it in the refrigerator if you want go several days/weeks between baking with it.  A starter with a stiff dough consistency will weather a longer storage between feedings than a starter with a batter consistency.

If throwing away the discards is an affront to your sense of frugality, do a search on discards.  You will find lots of tips about using it in pancakes, etc.


breadinquito's picture

Hi, rather than freezing a portion of stiff sourdough (that in my case, it worked) I prefer to dehydrate...when you need it'll be even faster to transform into a new sourdough. (in this case, I prefer liquid levain so I can spread on a piece of parchment paper and let it dry. Cheers from Quito

dasmueller's picture

Thanks for the suggestions. The starter has now doubled so I am feeling much more comfortable with it. Hopefully the stiffness and extended feeding will give it some sour taste !