Once you go to all the work to start your sourdough starter, it might be good to dry sourdough starter that you could use later!
I love sourdough! From bread, to waffles, to pancakes, to burger buns, they are IT for our family! Sourdough bread is delicious and healthy, but not everyone has access to friends with sourdough starter on hand. In that situation, a sourdough culture needs to be started at home.
It took me about 9 days to start my culture. It was a lot of work – but well worth the effort! The problem is that when you go to that much effort to make a sourdough starter, it is a little worrisome to think about what would happen if you killed or accidentally used up all your starter.
That is exactly why it’s important to dry sourdough starter…just in case. Then you always have a little on hand that you can rehydrate in just a couple days and get back to baking!
How to dry sourdough starter:
It’s not very hard to dry sourdough starter and it really only takes a couple tools and 2-3 days!
Step 1 Feed your sourdough starter
I always start this process with freshly fed sourdough starter. I feed it like normal – about 100g of starter, 100g of filtered water and 100g of unbleached flour. Let it sit out for about 6-8 hours until it has doubled in size. Once it’s all bubbly, it’s ready to go!
Step 2 Spread starter out on parchment
Step 3 Allow it to dry for 2-3 days
Let the sourdough covered parchment sit out at room temperature for 2-3 days. It’s hard to say how long it will take because it depends on how thinly you spread it, and how humid the air is.
The important part is that you allow it to dry COMPLETELY. If there is any moisture left in it, when you put it into the air tight container, it will mold.
This first picture is after 24 hours. You’ll want to keep a close eye to see if the thicker areas are fully dried. See how it’s still darker? Not dry.
The two pictures below were after 48 hours. I felt like all that moisture was dry, so I cracked it up and left it out for one more day to make sure it was fully dry before I put it in a mason jar for storage.
Step 4 Crack it into pieces and store in an airtight container
Once you’re completely sure it’s dry, crack it up and store it in an airtight container indefinitely.
How to use dry sourdough starter:
I keep my dry sourdough starter on hand just in case something happens to my main starter. Earlier this year, I accidentally used up all my starter *GASP*. Luckily, I had this dried sourdough starter stored for just that occasion so I went to work rehydrating it!
It’s a pretty straight forward process. Simply cover the flakes in filtered water and stir.
Let it sit for a few hours. I let it sit long enough to get to the point that when I stir it, I don’t see flake shapes, but instead have a consistently smooth liquid. It will look like this once it’s all mixed up. I actually did pour a little of the water off the top when it was all settled in order for it not to be too watery.
Feed that starter!
Now just feed it with 100g of filtered water and 100g of unbleached flour. You’ll want to let this sit for the first time around 12-24 hours. Those dried yeasties are sluggish, so it takes them quite a while to start to wake up.
If it doesn’t look super bubbly, you may want to feed it one more time to get it going really well! The first time I did this, I needed to feed it more than once, but this time I fed it in the morning and it was totally ready to go before bed! It was amazing and SO much quicker than starting a new culture from scratch.
I hope you try this method of sourdough starter preservation! Later this week, I’ll tackle how to freeze sourdough starter for later use. I usually have some dried, as well as some frozen so that I cover all my bases!
If you decide to dry sourdough starter, please let me know how it goes!