The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Successful revitalization of starter

Maverick's picture

Successful revitalization of starter

Just thought I would share... I have been away from sourdough bread making for a while. I put my starter in the refrigerator over 6 months ago (I think it may have been March or April, but possibly May). I took it out last night, stirred in the hooch, and mixed in a 1:1:1 refresh to see if it was still viable (25g of starter, water, and flour). Sure enough, I have seen a steady rise today. It is a lot slower of course and I fed it a lot less than normal knowing this. So it looks like even a 100% hydration starter can survive in the refrigerator for quite some time. Now to get it back to baking speed :)

dabrownman's picture

everything possible to kill mine over the years but it's .......ALIVE! and survives non the less.  Glad you could save yours.  Don't forget to freeze some of the new when it is well.  That way it will live forever in care the worst happens :-)

Skibum's picture

I am a quite a newb with respect to sour dough baking and was going to post this on the sourdoughlady's most excellent thread < click here) on sour dough starters, but thought it fit here well.  I created a successful seed using the above technique and started both a white flour and light rye mother starter and raised one loaf.  That was May 2nd. After a couple of weekly feedings, I got busy and my starter has sat covered in the fridge now for 6+ months.  Last Saturday, I thought I would see if it was still active, so after stirring, reserved 50 g of old muddy looking rye starter added 120 g luke warm water, stirred it up and after 10 or 15 minutes added 150 g of light rye flour.  After 6 hours, nothing was happening, so I put the container aside and forgot about until the next day.  I was astonished to see that the starter had nearly tripled in volume and was bubbling away like mad!  Wish I had a photo . . .

I used part of this to build a starter for P. Reinhart's NY Style deli rye from BBA, but as a full sourdough bake.  After 6 hours the new starter had doubled nicely.  Several of PR's rye recipes I looked at used a WW seed to build the rye starter.  My conclusion was to use 50 g of the new rye starter and add 120 g water, 75 g light rye and 75 g bread flour.  After mixing this up, I was astonished to see the new starter had more than doubled in just over an hour.  I proceeded to mix a half version of the deli rye recipe, including sweet onion fried in oil until really sweet and added in at a later S&F.  The recipe prepared me for a 2 hour+ proof.  I was again astonished that the loaves had more than 1 1/2X after one hour!  That is faster than most yeasted doughs I have baked have risen!  Beginners luck perhaps?  By the time the oven was ready for hearth baking and 11/2 hours proofing time the loaf went into the oven on to the stone with steam.  The loaf was certainly overproofed, as it was nearly impossible to score:

Despite the rather ragged appearance, the flavour is fabulous!  

I love the flavour the onions add to this bread.  I even used the suggested amount of caraway, a seasoning I have never used.  I never liked the flavour of caraway until I tasted this loaf.  Oh my!  To prove it was not an accident, I am starting another, smaller batch, which is actually 1/4 of PR's recipe.  Even using half I ended up with 2 large loaves.  I have given my neighbours so much bread it is almost getting embarrasing . . .  It is never refused though ;-)

My next batch of NY deli rye will also contain some sauteed garlic to go with the onions and some fresh rosemary. Garlic and rosemary should be a great addition to this great recipe.  The taste of the lunchtime sandwich on rye bread with the onions is still haunting my memory! 

Maverick's picture

That is great. I love to hear success stories like this.