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Activating Your DRIED Sourdough Starter

Reviving a dried sourdough starter is a fairly simple matter that should meet with success almost all the time. This video covers the details but I’ll jot down a few steps here so you don’t necessarily have to. IMPORTANT: If you don’t think you have a lively starter within 2 or 3 days after starting these steps, make sure the starter is not runny. This is explained in the video. Please watch the video, paying particular attention to the discussion of starter consistency.

Day 1: In a pinch bowl, soak 1 ½ teaspoons dried starter in 1 tablespoon lukewarm purified or spring water for a few minutes to soften. Then stir in 1 tablespoon all-purpose or bread flour, cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

Day 2: To the above mix, stir in 1 tablespoon of flour and 2 teaspoons of water and let it continue to sit covered as before for another 24 hours.

Day 3: Stir in 1 more tablespoon of flour and just 1 teaspoon of water this time. Within the next 12 to 24 hours you will likely start to see some bubbling action of fermentation. The warmer the room, the faster the activation.

Now transfer your activated starter to a jar with plenty of extra space for expansion, and stir in 1/3 cup flour and 1/4 cup of water. Mark the level on the jar with a rubber band. Within about 12 hours you should have a lively, spongy starter.

Continue to build the starter with once or twice daily feedings until you have a sufficient quantity to use for baking. You may double or triple the quantity of starter with each feeding. Feeding with approximately equal weights of flour and water (vs. equal volumes) will result in a good starter consistency.

What’s next? It’s easy to maintain a healthy starter indefinitely, but there’s a bit more to know. See Managing Your Sourdough Starter below.

Check out this FAQ if you’re having trouble activating your starter: What to do if your starter is sluggish or seems “dead.”

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