Rehydrating Dehydrated Sourdough Starter

April 16, 2014 · 5 comments

Well, so much for “zero doubts” in getting my dehydrated starter perky and going again. I said as much on my post on dehydrating the starter, and I figured after almost a year, it was time to raise the starter. I wasn’t successful.

 

This is what I began with, an airtight mason jar of dehydrated sourdough starter.

 

dehydrated sourdough

 

Day one, about 4:35 in the afternoon, I began with 1/2 cup of dried starter, 1 TB of ¬†ground whole wheat flour (aged about a week in the fridge), and about 1/4 cup of chlorine-free water, enough to get a nice pancake batter consistency. I kept it on the counter, covered with wrap, at room temperature. I put the lid back on the jar, and it resealed within three minutes. I thought the whole deal was pretty stinkin’ easy.

 

Day two, around 9:15 in the morning, I checked on it, but there was nothing. No real activity at all. For reference, all of my starters do very well at room temperature. This starter still smelled all right, so I decided to warm it up a bit, on the lowest setting, about 90 degrees in my dehydrator. That is how I initially got the starters going when I got them from Sourdoughs International. I checked on it three hours later, and at 4:00 I turned it off.

 

This was the best I ever got: a single weak bubble or two. After a while, I began to wonder if what I had was my original sourdough fermenting, or if I was fermenting whatever yeast I was catching from my environment. Still, I decided to let it sit overnight, hoping I would see a healthy frothy starter in the morning.

 

sourdough1

Day three: nope. I decided to toss this batch and began again at 9:25 in the morning. This time, I used 1/3 cup of dehydrated starter, 1/2 cup of chlorine-free water, and I used white flour instead. The “right” way is to use the same as the starter, in this case, whole wheat. However, I thought that perhaps the whole grain may be too overpowering, and I wanted to experiment. I also decided to keep it warm for the day.

 

Day four, 8:50 in the morning, and I was not impressed. Also, my jar never resealed, so that was an interesting experiment, too. I still had the one or two bubbles, though, so I left it out all that day and into the night.

 

Day five, there was obvious mold. Yes, something was growing but it wasn’t my sourdough! I started yet again with the last of my dehydrated starter (all fresh clean bowls in between of course). I used 3/4 cup starter, 1/3 cup flour, 1/2 cup chlorine-free water AND this time I added 1TB of apple juice. Perhaps it needed a little sugar to feed off of. I left it to warm until that evening.

 

Day six, it still didn’t look promising. Believe me, I was SO hoping for this to work! I left that morning for five days to Portland, Oregon, and left it out (covered). I figured it would either perk up or die.

 

Five days later, it was moldy and dead. And thus ended the saga of rehydrating my dehydrated starter.

 

I’m not sure what I did wrong, but I’m sure there are far more knowledgeable sourdough gurus who could chime in once they stop laughing :) It sure did dehydrate very easily, so this is my current plan:

 

1. Call up a couple of companies and see if they’ll share with me how they dehydrate their starters. Perhaps my efforts were too hot, but I’m not sure how I’d overcome that in the wet climate I live in.

2. Order me up some new starter and keep one of their dried starters for my backup.

3. Continue on my quest to share starters with my friends! Many of us are now using sourdough starters, and it is pretty nice to be able to share back and forth as needed. Like when I need a year off from a flavor and then want it back ;)

4. Keep my starters going in the fridge, maintaining a rotation. Currently I have three going, but I’ve had four going and can definitely see doing more. It’s easy once it becomes part of the routine, and if you like to bake often. You can see how I juggle multiple sourdough starters here.

 

I hope you’ll learn from my failures, and if you are successful in resurrecting a homemade dehydration, I want to hear about it!

 

Blessings,


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Joy April 17, 2014 at 11:39 pm

Having just made Sour Dough for the first time this week…happily nurtured my starter for five days then lovingly went through all the tedious kerfuffle of actually making two small loaves…it took ALL day….and then husband watched as I cut the first slice…and then we tasted it….blah…nasty….is it supposed to taste like that? After all that…hope the birds will eat it… lol

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kerimae April 18, 2014 at 7:44 am

Noooo….it is not supposed to be blah! Nor should it be tedious! Where did you get your starter? I find using yeast, sugar, and all of the *extras* it takes to make bread far more annoying; I like just using starter, flour, water and salt. I wish I could mail you some real bread :)

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Joy April 18, 2014 at 8:22 am

My daughter sent me her recipe to try…start off the starter with 1 teaspoon bread flour and two teaspoon water…do that for five days then add… 15 gram starter to 150gm flour and 150 gram water…leave that overnight…you with me so far. Next day add 75gram of this mix to 250grm flour with 4 gram salt and 150 gram warm water. Then you mix it five times with a 10 minute rest in between. then recipe says to cover dough with a bowl and leave for an hour…then shape into loaf , cover and leave for 6 hours to double in size…only then do you finally get to bake it!!!

This makes one small loaf that tasted awful. Will stick to my usual bread making from now on, have been doing that for the last forty years!!

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kerimae April 18, 2014 at 9:11 am

LOL! You make me laugh so much, Joy! It sounds gross to me, too. First of all, no salt? At all? Yuck. Secondly, you just used whatever yeast was captured, so who knows what that’s going to do (other than taste gross). Maybe your daughter can bring some of her own bread that she baked? In the meantime, yes, keep baking your favorite butter carrier! :)

P.S. I didn’t know you had a blog! I tried to leave a comment but Google wanted my full name, birthday, and the number of socks in my dresser. I hope you find your brushes! I would love to come play with your paint!

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Joy April 18, 2014 at 11:45 am

I’ve had a blog for a few years now..brushes not yet found!!! Been busy this week with Easter services at church, so hunt will resume on Monday. Easter Blessings to you all and congratulations on the new life

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