Having a active sourdough like the sweet starter is a good thing. But there is always the risk of loosing. It could starve while you are on a longer vacation or because you have no time for bread baking. Or (worst case scenario) some mould could start to grow on your precious sourdough. And that’s when a backup can be handy.
When I grow my sweet starter in December, I decided to test two different methods for storing sourdough: Freezing and drying. And after three months I tested which method provides a faster success when I reactivating. I mixed both the frozen and the dried starter with fresh flour and water and left them on the counter. After 20 hours the dried starter was clearly back to life as I could judge from the increase of volume. A feeding with flour and water showed that it could already triple its volume after 4 hours on 30°C, like it would before freezing.
The frozen starter was barely alive after the same time, only some tiny bubbles suggest that it was not completely dead. But that does not surprise me so much, because during the freezing process the water in the cells of the microorganisms starts to form crystals, which damage the cells. During drying on the other hand the cells form spores to survive the unpleasant situation and spring back to life as soon as it comes in contact with water and flour.
Drying a starter
- 20g Sweetr Starter
- 20g flour Type 550
- 10g Water
mix the starter with flour and water and let it rise for 3 hours at 30°C
Now roll the dough as thin as possible and let it dry at 30°C.
Break into small pieces and keep in a dry glass.
Reactivating the dried starter
- 7g dried sweet Starters
- 13g lukewarm Water
- 20g flour Type 550
- 40g sweet Starter
- 40g flour
- 20g Water
Grind the dried Starter to a powder and mix with flour and water. Allow to rise at room temperature until doubled (about 20-24 hours).
For the feeding mix the starter with flour and water and let it rise for 3-4 hours at 30°C. The Starter should triple in this time. If not, repeat the feeding until it is able to triple in this time!