The Fresh Loaf

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Reviving a starter

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skirkster's picture

Reviving a starter

Howdy all,

I received a sourdough starter a few months ago. Since then, I've foolishly let it sit, untouched, in the back of my refrigerator. Is it possible to revive it, and, if so, then how?


clazar123's picture

Is this a dry starter? Was this a starter that was initially dry and mixed with flour and water? How many times before it was left alone? Is it in liquid form? If liquid, was it ever fed or is it as received? What does it look like now? What kind of container is it in?

skirkster's picture

It was a starter made with just flour and water. It was being fed on a regular basis for a year or two before I received it. It's mostly solid (I haven't touched it to check consistency or anything) with a thin dark liquid layer on top. Smelling pretty strongly of vinegar at this point. And it's in a clear glass jar. Sealed.

GermanFoodie's picture

and start feeding it like you normally would. You'll know if it's still viable after a feeding or two.

clazar123's picture

You will get many different suggestions. Do the one that you like best.

My 2 cents:

 Discard or stir in-the liquid is alcohol gone to vinegar. On second thought-discard when it's this far gone.

Take about 1 tbsp of starter from the bottom of the jar and put it into a clean jar with about 2-3 tbsp flour and enough water to make a thick pancake batter consistency. Cover the jar with a coffee filter and rubberband or paper towel and rubberband. This lets it breathe a bit.

Let it sit out and feed it again about 12 hours later (morning and evening).

On the next day ( or after 2 feedings), discard half and feed morning and evening again.

Just repeat cycle (discard half the starter once a day and feed twice a day) until it is active.

When it is very active again, back off to once a day feeding and once a day discard. You should still have a small amount of starter-about 4-5 tbsp.

When you want to refrigerate it, first feed,wait til the yeasties have eaten for an hour and then refrigerate.

Either discard or bake weekly. At that time, feed, wait an hour and place the main starter back in the refrigerator. 

It may still come back. Hard to kilee those yeasts!

Delicio8's picture


I'm baking about once a week on the weekends and I've never put my starter in the fridge. It's getting wasteful to feed it every day though. If I put it in the fridge, do I feed once a week or?  Do I just take out the amount necessary for my recipe and continue to store the rest in the fridge?  I don't want to kill it off cause I really like this starter.


rolls's picture

i have to agree from recent experience. mine didn't actually take too long to revive and it was strong enough to rise dough without the help of any commercial yeast. so don't give up and keep trying.