The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

pregnancy brain and my starter

viajeralaura's picture

pregnancy brain and my starter

Thanks to some great help from this forum in March, I developed my own sourdough starter and have managed it, and baked weekly for the past four months. I got into a good groove and was playing around with different flours both in baking and to manage the starter, improving my bread techniques, etc. I really enjoy bread baking and this was all making me very happen.

Anyway, I sold my house and bought a new house in June and things got crazy for a little while, so I wasn't baking for a bit. Anyway, I finally got around to baking last weekend, and everything went great (I made three excellent loaves in my new kitchen - so proud) until two days ago when I realized, as I was having my nightly piece of toast, that on that last bake I had failed to save any starter in the fridge. WAAAA. And in that moment, I realized, also being 31 weeks pregnant, that I officially have pregnancy brain. 

But I digress. I was very sad for a few seconds and then remembered that a couple months ago, before I got better at managing the amount of starter I needed, I froze some, based on some directions I probably got on here. What I did was lay out some parchment paper, and spread the starter on it, and let it dry out in the air for maybe 2-3 days. Once it was all dry, I was able to crack it into pieces and separate it from the paper and stuck it in the freezer. Thankfully, my frozen bits survived the move. 

My question is simply how I use the frozen starter. Just let it thaw out and feed it? Will it need additional time? Is there any need to add anything other than the water and flour? 

Thanks in advance to all you old pros. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Weigh or spoon out a Tablespoon of chips and put the rest back into the freezer.  

Rehydrate first, just enough to cover the chips, using non-chlorinated water.  When I'm in a new place, I fill a large jar or container with tap water and let it stand a few days, open but with a dust cover like cloth or a paper towel.   

Once rehydrated, stir to make sure.  These flakes contain bacteria, low pH,  and if there's a sporing yeast, it will be active in about 3 days so try not to discard any of it.  

Add a Tbs of fresh flour and enough extra water to keep things very soft.  Now cover loosely to prevent it from drying out, mark the level with a marker pen so you can see changes more easily and find a cozy spot for the starter out of drafts, sunshine, crazy cleaning fathers-to-be and animals.  

Give it at least 24 hours before adding another Tbs of flour and enough water to keep things wet, adding a new level mark to the jar.  Keep this up daily until it returns to itself.  

Once the yeast have awakened (and you will know it) remove some of the culture to feed separately with more water and flour but don't throw this first culture breeding station out until the fed sample has proved itself worthy.  You might have to come back to it as a "back up."

A few weeks from now (while you wait) dry another back up using the newly active starter.  

Happy starter wake up, and congratulations on the upcoming baby!   


drogon's picture

split it into 2, if possible - and put one half back in the freezer just in-case (although if it's been dried properly then it should survive in an airtight bag) anyway - with one half, crumble it into powder, then its the usual - 100g flour + 100g water, mix in the powder, wait 12-24 hours for activity, do a refresh (I'd just add more flour + water, but some people would want to throw half away then add flour + water) and wait again. Hopefully in 2-3 days it'll be going again and certainly ready by next weekend.

My suggestion for future bakes would be to keep more starter in the fridge than you need - take out what you need to build a "production levian" for the breads your baking that day/next, then top up the starter and back into the fridge.

Good luck with that and the pregnancy - obviously not something I've personally experienced... but I have 2 young nieces and being their naughty uncle is great fun :-)


AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

A friend from TFL gave me some of his dried starter for me to try. I had no experience with anything other then my own starter which is always kept at 100% hydration. So this was new to me. Here's what I did...

I added some boiled water which had been cooled to room temperature (I always feed my starters like this). Then I left it to soften the dried starter. Once I was able to incorporate all the starter into the water and make a paste I realised I had made it too watery (very difficult at this stage to determine how much water to add to make it 100% hydration). So then I added some flour and incorporated. Making sure it was getting a good feed. Covered and left it to "wake up".

Took a couple of days. Just when I thought the starter was dead it sprang to life. Then I carried on feeding it as normal each time keeping just a little and feeding it 1:3:3 and only fed it when there was activity. But after the first reactivation it just got quicker each time. And because I was feeding it 1:3:3 it soon was brought back to 100% hydration. Took about a week. I waited another few days before using. Makes lovely bread.


viajeralaura's picture

Thank you each of you. I will work on this in the next three days. I have of course been in the habit of taking out my starter about once a week, feeding it, then saving some in the fridge and using the rest to bake. I was definitely not intending to use my entire fridge starter, I just completely blanked... pregnancy brain. 

Anyway, these instructions although varying make sense to me and are helpful. I will post back about my success. Thanks again to each of you. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

that the empty starter jar had not been washed yet, it would only be a matter of adding a spoon of water, cover and slosh down the sides.  Then feed a spoon of flour and let it mature.   Feed again later to increase the volume.