The Fresh Loaf

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long-frozen starter

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Mason's picture
Mason

long-frozen starter

Last night I took a loaf of my whole grain sourdough to a get-together.  There a friend told me that his mother still has a piece of his deceased grandmother's sourdough in the freezer, and can't bear to discard it.  He's possibly interested inreviving it.  He asked me for advice about how to do so.


It could have been in the freezer as long as a decade, though.  That's a long time.


If it's possible to revive a starter after this long a freezing, what would be the best method?


I presume it would be best to cut off a small piece (like 1 oz) and feed that.  


But would it be better to have a higher or lower hydration?  


Is it better to have white flour (with less other organisms) or rye flour (that seems better for sourdough)?  Or would it be better to use the same kind of flour that Grandma used?


Any advice from folks who have tried it before woudl be most appreciated.  Thanks!


Mason.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Not sure how many folks here have tried to revise a sourdough culture that's been in the freezer for ten years, but all you can do is try.  Am guessing that unless it was wrapped really, really well, you might have some freezer burn - I think vacuum packing machines are a recent introduction to the mass market.


As for using the same flour as  the deceased gandmother, not sure how you could know what brand or type she used over ten years ago.


Take an ounce, thaw it, and mix it with an ounce of organic rye and an ounce of water and see what happens.


Good luck and let us know what progresses.

ArieArie's picture
ArieArie

I am sure some of the organizmes survived the freezinbg.  


I would use bleached white flour, and boiled water, to make sure you do not intoduce any yeast from the water or flour. 


 


I had to do the same thing a few years ago. I used bleached flour, and I boiled the water in the glass dish I would revive teh starter in. 


I "toasted teh flour in teh microwave for a minute to make sure averythng in it is dead.. Once the water cooled, I added the frozen starter and teh flour, and covered. 


 


I may have gone over board with the sterilization, but it worked.. took 3 days for the starter to bubble.. 

diverpro94's picture
diverpro94

I guess it's worth a try! I usually take mine and defrost it in the fridge for three days. From there I just take it out and revive it with organic white flour and water. You might add a little rye flour to help get things going.

copyu's picture
copyu

says clearly that normal, commercial bakers' yeast [S.cervesiae] is freeze-resistant. It can produce spores, even after blast-freezing with liquid nitrogen (-321°F/-196°C) and can be 'resuscitated' within a few days...


However, that does NOT mean that the dominant yeast species in your friend's frozen starter will definitely "come back to life" in 48-72 hours


I would treat this project as I would treat a "new starter". [Still, I'd bet 'London to a brick' that there's SOMETHING that can reproduce in that frozen lump!]


I would counsel a lot of patience in getting it to do anything interesting...just like a new starter. But, I'm repeating myself. Time for me to go away!


Good luck!


copyu 

Mason's picture
Mason

I'll pass all this advice along. If they decide to try it ill try to find out how it went and let you all know the results.

copyu's picture
copyu

they trusted YOU to do the defrosting, etc...you said clearly that you have some sourdough experience...how about your friends? Can they do it, do you think?


[They're obviously patient people, though...10 years!]


Best,


copyu


 

copyu's picture
copyu

they trusted YOU to do the defrosting, etc...you said distinctly that you have some sourdough experience...how about your friends? Can they do it, do you think?


[They're obviously patient people, though...10 years!]


Best,


copyu