The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Report on a Long Dormant Starter

Dalila's picture

Report on a Long Dormant Starter

About 4 years ago I was given a cupful of starter from one of the great bread bakeries in San Francisco, given to me by a friend who works there. I was just starting out baking sourdough bread, and fed it religiously for about two years. Due to some personal issues, I stopped baking for a while, and the starter sat dormant in my refrigerator for over two years after that. After a while I thought I should throw it out, but I just didn't have the heart to!

I've begun baking again, and today I pulled it out of the fridge, curious. It had some brownish liquid on top, but the color of the starter looked good, and it smelled ok - very sour. I fed it according to the instructions for feeding dormant starter in the Bread Bakers Apprentice, and I am pleased to report that it started bubbling immediately. After about a half hour it is filled with bubbles!

I am thrilled with this result, and wanted to report it here. I didn't think a starter which had sat untouched for two years plus could be revived, but apparently it can! I read on Breadtopia that if you are going to let a starter sit for a while in the refrigerator it is best to NOT leave it in an airtight container. That was the case for me - I had it in a mason jar, covered semi-tightly with plastic wrap, held on with the mason ring.

I plan to feed it for a few more days, and then use it to bake some bread. I'll let you know how it comes out :)

dabrownman's picture

hardest things in the world to do is kill a starter... I think you have to hire a hit man to torch it at 2,000 F.   I've tried every other way but no luck so far:-) Glad yours is as tough as mine.

Happy SD baking

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Just add bleach, or bake it at 350 for 10 minutes to kill that starter.  I have not tried the former, but accidentally did the latter. 

Bingowings's picture

Reading these boards it would seem that adding Garlic is the best way to kill a starter. You could try a wooden stake but where is the heart of the beast?

fredman's picture

Thanks for letting us know. I did not realise a starter is THAT resilient. It gives me new hopes for keeping mine alive. That means I don't have to let mine sleep with me anymore... :-)