i have a serious brain disease. please bring me a cat.

Reviving dormant sourdough starter

So what happens when you take an active sourdough starter, stick it in the fridge and ignore it for 6 months or more? Apparently nothing bad. This is exactly what I did. Actually, I have 4 starters in the fridge. Last week I decided to try and revive the Italian starter and attempt a batch of bread.

How did I do it? I pulled the starter out, stirred the hooch in (the liquid on top) and put it on the counter in a new bowl. Leaving it on the counter, I fed it with half a cup of flour and half a cup of water twice a day. At each feeding , I poured off about half the starter into a container of excess. But I’ll get to that later.

Friday night I began the Vermont Sourdough from Hamelman’s Bread. Saturday morning I worked through the shaping and then retarded the two loaves in the fridge overnight. Then Sunday morning I baked them off one at a time on my pizza stone. The first loaf I steamed once with ice cubes. The 2nd loaf I added a second steaming. The second steaming seemed to give the 2nd loaf a little more spring. The taste was mild but clearly the starter did its job. Nice rise, good crumb. Chewy crust. Sourdough bread is such a process that it’s even more satisfying when it all goes well.

So there have been sammichs, bread slice snacks, bread with salad, etc. And I haven’t cut into the second loaf yet! So what to do with the cast-off starter created when feeding? There are a bunch of things you can do with it, but this time I chose scones. (Obviously, I veganized that recipe.) It really doesn’t act to rise the scones, but flavors them a little and keeps you from having to throw the excess in the garbage.

tempeh salad sammich

tempeh salad sammich

apple pie sourdough scones

apple pie sourdough scones

It’s been a while, so I’m going to submit this post to WildYeast’s Yeastspotting. Head over there every Friday for a collection of baking porn from around the internets.


  1. I've never been a fan of sourdough bread, because of, well, the sour flavor. However, I love scones, and from the sounds of it, the apple pie sourdough scones would be no exception!

  2. steph, this particular starter isn't terribly sour. i say "sourdough" because that's what most people understand, but really it just means that instead of using commercial yeast i'm using natural yeast to raise the bread. i'll have to get you some to try soon! the scones were the ones i brought to the party last week. i can't remember if you were able to try them or not.

  3. Yay for resilient starters! Gorgeous loaf.

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