The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Have you Ever Dried Your Starter and Rehydrated it Later?

Gingi's picture

Have you Ever Dried Your Starter and Rehydrated it Later?

Hi there dear forum members.

I was wondering if it's possible to dry my very healthy starter in order to ship it via mail to a different location. Scientifically, it's possible to dry bacteria into spores and rehydrate them to further propagation (I work in a lab, and people do it all the time).

If anyone did that and can share his/hers stories, I'd be thankful.


Thanks guys.



PetraR's picture

I did it to send it to my Sister in Germany.

I fed my Starter and one it was fully active I took out 100g and spread it on Parchment Paper.

I switched the light on in my Oven and put the Parchment Paper with the Sourdough Spread in it for 24 hours.

Once it was fully dried I put it in my little food processor to make it very small.

I put it in a very small zip lock bag , than in an Envelope to send to Germany. 

Sending is very cheap that way.

My Sister , upon arrival of the Starter took out 1tsp , added about 1tbsp of warm water to dissolve it, than added 1 tbsp Flour and let it sit for 24 hours.

After 24 hours she fed it again with 1tbsp of warm Water and 1 tbsp of Flour and let it sit for 12 hours.

After 12 hours it already had bubbles so she added 2 Tbsp of warm water and tbsp of flour, let it sit for 12 hours.

After 12 hours she added 100g of warm Water and 100g of flour and from than on fed it just as any other Sourdough.

She bakes lovely bread with it.


I am sure there are several other ways to dry Sourdough Starter and revive, but this worked fine for us.


DavidEF's picture

I've never done it, but it's been done for years by lots of people (thousands? millions? who knows?)

There are companies that sell dried starter, and even a group of friends who give their starter away by shipping it dried in a standard letter envelope. A man named Carl Griffith started that deal, and his friends continue his generosity in honor of him. They have lots of information on their website, including how they dry the starter. The website for more information is

clazar123's picture

Search for this poster for additional posts on the subject. He also had a fascinating post about bread he encountered in the "middle of nowhere" in Lesotho. Just enter "Lesotho" in the search box.

Enjoy!'s picture

Not only is it "possible" but highly recommended.  We all routinely back up our data to the cloud and backing up your starter by drying it is just as advisable.  That said, unlike Gb's of digital data, you can always make a new starter from scratch.  You just lose a week or two of SD baking, waiting for it to develop.

When backing up my starter, I spread about 1 Tbsp of freshly matured culture on parchment paper with a spatula and leave it out to dry for a few days.  Then fold up the paper and keep in sealed container on the shelf.  Reconstitute by powdering in mortar, adding 5x weight in water + 5x weight in flour (I keep my starter at 80% hydration and since dry powdered starter innoculum is 0% hydration, this makes the culture somewhere between 80 and 100% hydration).  Then incubate (warm) as usual.  Sometimes takes as much as 24 hours to double that first time but picks up after that.

I haven't 'backed up' my starter for a few months.  Time to do it.  Thanks for the reminder!


twcinnh's picture

Apparently this has been going on for years with Carl's starter:

From the website: Carl T. Griffith, who gave a sourdough starter to anyone who asked, or who sent him a self-addressed stamped envelope, died early in the year 2000 at the age of 80. He is known for his generosity and the high quality and vitality of his sourdough starts, which came from a sourdough culture carefully nurtured and preserved in his family for over 150 years.

Seems to have worked well.


Tom C