The Fresh Loaf

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Started a starter from a dehydrated starter and hardly any activity? :(

Patryk's picture

Started a starter from a dehydrated starter and hardly any activity? :(

Hi all!

I recently received an established, dehydrated sourdough starter from an internet gift exchange. It came with the attached instructions on how to feed and restore it, and I followed it to a T.

I am now on Day 3, and despite producing some hooch overnight during the first and second day, there is hardly any movement or bubbles or activity on the starter so I am beginning to worry.

This is the flour I feed it with:

I have been using tap water, the first two days cold and today at 85F, but am thinking about switching to mineral water (we don't have filtered water here).

Is it normal for a dehydrated starter to take so long to bounce back? The instructions says I can use it from tomorrow onwards but as there is no movement I find that difficult to believe?

I use a rubberband to measure if it moves.

Any help would be appreciated, thank you :)

trancer's picture

HI There,

Getting a starter started (or restarted) can be stressful because nothing happens and you end up thinking it's dead. 

Persevere with it.  Leave it 24 hours, and feed again after 24 hours. Repeat this, it may take a few more days.

First time i did what you did i thought it had died and threw it away (at about day 5).  The second time, everything happened the same way but i persevered and by day 7 there were bubbles. 

Good luck.

Patryk's picture

That's reassuring, thank you. At that point though is the old rehydrated starter still "part of" the new one or is it just a completely new starter?

phaz's picture

As mentioned, hang in there. And yes, anything in the culture, if it can be revived, would be at least part of the new. I believe (there has been debate on this before) eventually the starter will have bugs predominantly from the flour used to feed and the local environment, so after a while wherever it initially came from doesn't really make much difference. Considering it's about 2 weeks (when all works well) to get a starter going, you may end up with a "local" starter anyway. 

One way or the other you should have something to work with soon. Enjoy!

Patryk's picture

Thank you for the encouraging words! I'm excited :)

Danni3ll3's picture

I had a similar experience with a starter that was sent to me. Tap water killed it but it worked just fine when I used tap water. I hope you kept some aside. 

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

The instructions should have said...

"Feed 1, Feed 2 ,Feed 3, Onwards...". Instead of "Day 1, Day 2 etc".

If you had done the first feed and only gone onto the second feed once the starter had showed activity and so on it would have been far easier. Instead you've gone into a feeding frenzy (not your fault at all) all before the dried starter had come out of hibernation.

On the plus side you haven't gone past Day 3 which starts to advise discarding so all the original starter is present it's just quiet and very diluted. 

My advice is to stop (if you're in a hole... stop digging!), keep warm and stir. You might need to take a break for 2 or more days but once it begins to show signs of activity then proceed. 

Best of luck!