The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Starter Storage

Benito's picture
Benito

Starter Storage

I'm going to be on vacation and away from my starter for almost a month.  So no baking while on vacation.  So this is what I am doing to ensure my starter, John Dough is healthy and ready to go when I return.

I took the remaining 3 g of starter I had left from the last week and placed him in a bowl, to which I added 6 g of filtered water.  The starter was dissolved and then 9 g of whole rye was added and mixed until very little dry flour remained.  I allowed this to hydrated while I cleaned the tiny house (Weck Jar) that John Dough lives in.  It hadn't been cleaned since he moved in a long long time ago.  I don't usually worry about cleaning his jar because the dried starter on the sides is fully of the LAB that help reduce the chances of contamination.

Next I formed John dough into a firm ball and then flattened him into a thick disk.  Into the dried cleaned Weck jar I placed 3 g of whole rye, then John Dough and then covered it all with 4-5 g of whole rye patting it all down.  The starter was next given an hour at room temperature and then will be placed in the fridge set at 3ºC for the duration of vacation.

The low temperature, low hydration and extra whole rye should keep the microbes quite healthy while I am away.

Comments

GlennM's picture
GlennM

Weather has been a bit cool down here, I bring a bit of starter with me and take it home at the end of the vacation.  Fresh bread regularly down here in sunny Naples.

Benito's picture
Benito

Hey Glenn, nice to hear from you.  So you're still in Naples, how much longer will you be down there?  Yes we are going to fly down to Fort Lauderdale tomorrow, this assumes there aren't any hiccups like one of us testing positive, new travels restrictions or my partner having his vacation recalled because of pandemic shortages in staffing at the hospital.

The weather being a bit cool down there is probably great for us, we've been seeing a lot of snow and extreme cold weather lately so almost anything would be better.

Fingers crossed we'll be there for four weeks.

Benny

GlennM's picture
GlennM

We came home for Christmas but back in early January. We are staying until late April this time. I think I may bake a couple of baguettes today, let me know if you need some starter and hope you have a great vacation!

Benito's picture
Benito

I'm going to take a bit of a break from baking I think.  I have a really bad frozen shoulder and had it injected yesterday and today I have an excruciating amount of pain.  My thoughts are that the depo-Medrol has crystallized in my shoulder.  So it will be bad for a while and then hopefully it will start to work.  So I'll be taking a needed bread in more than one way.  Thanks for the kind offer Glenn, enjoy the rest of your winter holidays.

Benny

happycat's picture
happycat

Best wishes for a safe + pleasant journey, and a break from the Great White North :)

I imagine there are plenty of intriguing bakes to enjoy down there without having to make them.

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you David, I’m hoping that we can make it down south without any hiccups.  We will do our rapid antigen tests this afternoon and so long as my partner’s vacation isn’t cancelled by the hospital because of major pandemic staffing issues (many are off work in quarantine) we should be down there around this time tomorrow.  With a bit more luck I will get to bake with Alan, we’ll see.

Hope winter gets a bit milder for you in Toronto while I’m away.

Benny

justkeepswimming's picture
justkeepswimming

...after midnight? Not everyone is willing to take such drastic measures, lol. But I have known a few nurses to do that, especially if it's an early morning flight. The thinking was "If they haven't gotten in touch with me by now, I'm going to assume it's okay to proceed as planned". Most places here would not attempt to bring someone home from international travel, but that was all pre covid, so not sure if that would work. 

Have a wonderful vacation!

Benito's picture
Benito

I think I’ll just take the SIM card out of his phone now that he is finished work Mary, but I like the way you think.  We still have to do our packing, albeit we don’t need much when we go down to Florida.  Thanks for the good vacation wishes, it is much appreciated.

Benny

JonJ's picture
JonJ

Looks so clean Benny. Looking forward to hearing about your starter resurrection and enjoy your break!

-Jon

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you very much Jon, we will make the most out of this vacation.  I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that John Dough is raring to go when I get home otherwise they will be no bread on the table in a month!

Benny

Yippee's picture
Yippee

Have fun!

Yippee

Benito's picture
Benito

Thanks so much Yippee, I’ll have to enjoy your bakes from Florida now.  Your most recents bakes are amazing.

Benny

HeiHei29er's picture
HeiHei29er

Safe travels Benny.  Enjoy the time away and the warm weather!

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Troy I will try our best to get some R&R while down there.  Stay safe yourself.

Benny

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Have a great break. Relax and unwind is the order of the day.

Benito's picture
Benito

Gavin thank you, that is the idea!

squattercity's picture
squattercity

enjoy your healing change of pace & locale, Benny!

JD looks snug.

Rob

 

Benito's picture
Benito

Thank you Rob, we’ve made it down safely assuming that the people across the aisle from us in the plane who really weren’t wearing their masks properly during most of the flight didn’t infect us!  Anyhow, we’ve settled in now.

Benny

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

We drove down from VA two full days Wed and Thurs. We are in Destin on a family matter that is not going well .  We did walk on Henderson Beach this morning and it was beautiful. It is SO cold here but it is snowing at home and expected to be -10 F wind chill tonight  Crazy weather > I hope you have a wonderful month. We will be in Venice Beach for the whole month of April and I can hardly wait, We did it last year and did nothing but ride our bikes and eat !!  

Benito's picture
Benito

Hi temporary neighbour!  Sorry to hear that the family matter isn’t going well.  Hopefully you can enjoy your visit to Destin as much as possible despite the family matter.  Crazy windy night we had last night but nothing like the weather we would be experiencing if we were home so we cannot complain.

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

Good morning! I hope your shoulder heals and you can enjoy the month in Florida. The wind was fierce up here as well. I’m waiting to hear how much snow they got yesterday at home in VA. I don’t think it was seriously deep but we still had it on the ground frozen solid from 10 days ago! 

I woke this morning with a sore throat and so I am afraid this awful trip will be further complicated by the virus… some days it’s best to just stay inside!!!  

Take care and be healthy! c

Benito's picture
Benito

Good morning Caroline.  The post injection reaction fortunately has settled down and our flight day wasn’t too bad.  

I’m sorry to hear about your sore throat, hopefully you’ve received three doses of vaccine and this will be short lived and mild.  Stay well and get better quickly.

Benny

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

I think it’s stress. A hot cup of coffee and Ibuprofen have helped. We are definitely triple vaxxed!! But our son is as well and he’s still got it and feels awful. My brother and sister-in-law also triple vaxxed and got it. You stay well.

 

Benito's picture
Benito

I returned home last night and one of the first things I did was open the fridge and smell my starter.  Ahhhh relief, it smelled nicely acidic and there was no mold whatsover, not surprising since this was a really dry way of storing the starter for an extended rest.

After settling in, I added water to the starter and ended up adding too much so it was a bit too batter like rather than the 100% hydration consistency I’m used to.  I then spent some time mixing it to break up and dissolve the very stiff starter surrounded by the whole rye flour.  This took sometime and in the end I don’t think I fully broke it all down.  I left it to ferment at room temperature after adding about 5 g of extra whole rye flour to thicken it a bit.  In the morning about 12 hours later, it had peaked at about 2.5 x and already started to fall.  This didn’t surprise me given that the hydration was still over 100%.  I then discarded all but 5 g of the start and fed it 1:1.5:2 to thicken it to what almost felt like 100% hydration.  It then was fermented at 82°F and after 6 hours it had risen to about 3.5 x.  I then refrigerated it for use soon for a levain.

So overall this was a successful way of storing a starter for long term at least a month.  

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

For extended months I make my starter a barely kneadable dough , very dry. I put it in the fridge in a tightly  sealed container  and say goodbye. When I return it’s easiest to break off a chunk and cover with warm water and just leave it till it softens completely. There isn’t any advantage to trying to mix it before it’s hydrated. When it’s fully softened then I add enough flour to make the consistency I want. I have never had mold or lost my starter with this method.

I now store my regular starters almost that dry and it works well but I keep about 1/2-1 c of starter and begin with 30 g and do only that one build for any formula . It’s wonderful how many ways work and get great bread! 

Glad you are safely home Benny! Take care and “ reach up” with that shoulder. 👍🙏

Benito's picture
Benito

You’re right Caroline, that is a good idea to just let it sit in warm water first to break it down and hydrate.  What I did seems to have worked just fine though, the stiff sweet levain I made is really good with 4 x rise overnight and ready to use so the starter is good.

Yes I’m been using a pole to try to increase my range of motion in the shoulder.

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

I wasn’t thinking but the extra mixing you did would be great for ROM! 😊👍 take care. c