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Reviving your dried sourdough starter

If you start with dried sourdough, it takes about 3-4 days to obtain a sourdough which is ready for baking - so plan ahead. Don’t use all dried starter you have. Keep some aside for things may go wrong the first time 8-).

Directions

  • In a glass, soak 1-2 teaspoon dried starter in 2-3 tablespoon cold to lukewarm water for about half an hour to soften. You can also break the flakes of starter into even smaller pieces using a spoon.
  • Stir in 1-2 tablespoon rye flour. If too dry, add some water to get a consistency of pancake batter. Cover the container and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. While not necessary, stirring again once or twice during this 24 hours will expedite the fermentation process.
  • Stir in another 2 tablespoon of rye flour and 2 tablespoon of water. The fermentation will start about 24 - 48 hours after the initial soaking and then you’ll notice small bubbles in the batter.
  • Continue with twice daily feedings (always adding approx. equal amounts of rye flour and water) for a few days. First, stir the sourdough so that the air bubbles escape, then add so much flour and water that the total volume of the sourdough increases by approx. 2/3. Remember to move the sourdough into a bigger container as it will always more than double its volume between the feedings. Keep the container covered with a plastic foil to avoid getting a dry crust on the top of the sourdough (as it happened to me). It’s fun to mark the initial level of the sourdough on the side of the container after each feeding to observe the progress.
  • After a few days you will have enough of a vital sourdough starter for baking. How much is enough? Depends on your recipe. For my wholegrain sourdough bread I use about 1 cup of mixed (meaning w/o bubbles) sourdough. About 2-3 tbs. of the sourdough goes into the fridge to be used next time.
  • Confused? Have a look at a video. There is plenty of good info on this page. Some more English links are here.

Pictures

Zuzana's dried sourdough starter.


Soaking – I used more sourdough and more water than in the instructions.


After adding the first portion of flour.


After the second feeding (about 24-36 hours gone) – still no signs of fermentation. I got impatient and put the glass closer to the heating (never ever go above ~ 95-100°F) and things started moving!


Following 4 pictures – starter is fermenting. There is a dry crust on the top because I didn’t have the glass covered.



Couple hours later



Starter moved into a bigger container and fed again.


After few hours.


Voilà! Starter ready to be used for the bread.


I wish you good luck with reviving your starter!