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... :-)

chris319's picture

This San Francisco bakery gave you some liquid starter? Would you care to name it?

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

if he wanted to get his friend in trouble he could have named the friend. If he wanted to get himself in trouble he could name the bakery. But why would you ask for the name of the bakery as if it is beyond reason that a friend would pinch starter for a friend?