Sourdough starter reactivation
It is time for some sourdough starter reactivation. My sourdough starter is now 13 months old and still going strong. At some point in the past, I split the starter into two separate pots and I now tend to alternate usage of them. Both starters put out good quality starter material to make the boule or loaf that I decide to make. I posted a rough guide to making your starter over here.
When making your first starter, it might not always work the first attempt or two. Keep persevering as it’s worth the effort! Once you have a good starter up and running, they are rather hardy and can live for a long time. If you need a break; you can be refrigerate, freeze and even dehydrate it.
If you are only baking twice a month, I would refrigerate the starter – take it out an extra day early for another feed. This will allow it a bit of time to get to room temperature and to starting getting active and groovy again.
If you are going on a long holiday or can’t bake for a few months, then freeze the starter. When it comes to using it, give it a few extra days to thaw and re-feed. As above, it needs a bit of time to start getting back into the swing of being a starter, so the few extra days of being fed and warm are vital.
To dehydrate, spread the starter as thinly as possible on some greaseproof paper and leave to dry. Once it has dried, scrape into a pestle and mortar and grind into a powder. Empty this into a Ziploc bag and store somewhere dry and dark. To revive it, take half a tablespoon of the powder and leave to soak in a tablespoon of lukewarm water. Then mix in a tablespoon of flour and cover and leave for 24 hours. Now add half a tablespoon of water and tablespoon of flour and leave for a further 24 hours. Finally, add another tablespoon of flour and a teaspoon of water and mix. Within 12 hours or so you should start to see bubbles develop. You can now go back to regular feeding of it once it has reached this stage.
While feeding the starter, in the past I have tended to throw the excess out. However, I am now starting to use what I would have thrown out, to make pancakes, waffles and pizza bases. I will eventually get around to posting the recipes to these sometime soon.