The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bringing a starter back to life

Juergen's picture

Bringing a starter back to life

Over the last months I have neglected my sourdough starter and I only baked yeasted breads. Now I want to start baking with a starter again when I took my old starter out of the fridge today, it smelled really funky, much like acetone, so I dumped it. 

I am left with two options now:

1. starting from scratch again knowing that this will take me at least two weeks or so before I can bake with it


2. using some of my old starter that I have kept in my freezer in dry form in a freezer bag dated march 18, 2012.

My question is whether anyone has any experience with re-activating on old starter in dry from that is almost a year old. Will this work or am I better off starting from scratch?

linder's picture


I reactivated a frozen starter  that was just about a year old.  It took a couple(3-4) days for it to come back to life.  What I did was rehydrated it with some warm water to a thin paste and then added flour and water to the hydration level I desired and kept at it for a few days, removing some starter(about half) and adding more water and flour each day.  I made sourdough crackers with the discards.  The first couple of days the starter looked a bit lethargic but around day 3 I saw bubbles and on day 4 it looked active and returned to its former state.  I then froze some for later as an insurance policy and have been using the rest to bake as usual.

Best of Luck


Juergen's picture

Thanks Linda. I saved some in 2012 for the very reason of re-activating it but I had my doubts since it was almost a year old. It seems that this doesn't really matter so I will try to re-activate it in they way you've done.

HappyHighwayman's picture
Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

when starting a starter.  hydrate the dried starter with water (this should give you a nice low pH) and give equal amounts of flour to the mixture.  Then leave it alone for two days.  Careful about discarding too soon or too much.  Add more water and flour to it when you sense it is waking up.  Discard eventually to keep the amount small.


Juergen's picture

Thanks! I ground some of my old dry starter into a fine powder and mixed it with water and flour. When I checked it this morning, there already seemed to be some very small bubbles appearing on top so it seems to go in the right direction.