The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Starter still alive

Floydm's picture

Starter still alive

I hadn't used my sourdough starter in... months. Maybe once this summer I refreshed it and baked with it. I was sure it was a goner, but for the heck of it I took it out of the fridge last night, poured off the hooch, scooped off the gray slime on the top, and took a spoonful. I refreshed it and left it on the counter overnight. Sure enough, this morning it was bubbly and lively, so I went ahead and tried baking with it. It was a little bit sluggish, kinda like I feel after waking up from a too long nap, but it still did its job. We had a lovely loaf of sourdough with our lasagna tonight.

Powerful stuff.


SourdoLady's picture

It is amazing the abuse that a starter will tolerate! I have the SDI Russian and it got shoved to the back of the fridge with no feedings for an entire year and it came back to life in 48 hours. I was amazed. I try to be kinder to it now--lol

GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture

my starter, Alpha/Omega.

Fresh flour, fresh water, and, Voila!:  CPR, starter style.

Kudos!  Floydm, welcome back to all things, sourdough.  :)



dmsnyder's picture

Floyd's sourdough starter!

Floyd ... Maybe you should name your starter "Rip van Winkle." ;-)


JMonkey's picture

Last week, I broke open my very neglected rye starter, and it had tall stringy looking moldy things growing on top. Underneath, though, it seemed undisturbed, so I took a little bit, and fed it. Sure enough, it came back to life.

proth5's picture

I have just returned from >somewhere< where I got a pretty good harrangue from "my teacher" on starter care.

"Name one animal that can go two weeks without eating!" said teacher demanded.

"My carp in the winter." I replied.

The response to that involved a lot of sputtering - and really shouldn't be in print.

But upon my arrival back to home and pond, I thought about it.  My carp cannot eat if the water temperature dips below 40F - so in my climate they go months without eating.  At the end of this time, they are weakened and vulnerable, but still alive.  I must busy myself with feeding them in the spring and get them good and fat during the summer and fall, else they will not make it through another winter.

And so it is with our refrigerated starters, I think.  They can survive a blow, but must be brought back to health and be well cared for before the next blow comes.

Are my carp show quality in early spring?  Why no, they are not.  But they still look pretty good and are playful enough to bring me a smile.  Again, so it is with our starters.  We wouldn't want to take a neglected starter to a world class baking competition, but it still makes good bread and we still like to eat it.

So while I like to maintain my starter as best as I possibly can, I have resolved to stop beating myself up about my less than perfect care.  I'll spend a couple of months feeding it perfectly before I enter world class competition (ha ha!) but until then, I think I'll chill.

Congratulations to all of you who have brought starters back from the brink.

Happy Baking!