How long can you keep the sourdough starter in the fridge?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long can you keep the sourdough starter in the fridge?”, and how to refrigerate and freeze your sourdough starter?

How long can you keep the sourdough starter in the fridge?

A 3-month-old sourdough starter can be safely kept in the fridge for about 2 months. Feed it and pop it back in the fridge after 2 months if you do not plan to use it. 

The longer you refrigerate the starter, the longer it will take to activate before it is ready to be used for bread baking. 

A 1-2 week old starter will need to be fed 1-2 times before it is fully awake from its deep slumber. A brown liquid growing on the surface of the starter is a sign that the stater is actively consuming the flour. However, any fuzzy or pink stuff over the surface of the starter is bad news. 

How to fee sourdough starter?

Ingredients 

  • 50 grams all-purpose flour
  • 50 grams filtered water (room temperature)

Instructions 

  1. Stir in 50 grams of purified water and 50 grams of all-purpose flour in 1tbsp of the sourdough starter. 
  1. Let the starter rest at room temperature overnight. The starter will be active, double in its initial volume, and foaming the next morning. You can either use it to bake fresh bread or refrigerate it for later. 

How to store the sourdough starters in the fridge?

  1. Feed your starter to activate it. 
  1. Transfer the freshly activated starter to a clean glass jar or air-tight container. Make sure the starter has enough room to grow and double in volume. 
  1. Pop it in the coldest part of the fridge.

Benefits of storing sourdough starter in the fridge

If you want to save yourself the time and effort to feed your sourdough starter on daily basis, refrigeration is your best friend. 

This is particularly helpful if you are not a regular baker. Whether you bake once a week or month or even regularly, refrigerating the starter makes sure it is in safe hands. 

Disadvantages of storing the sourdough starter in the fridge 

The starter is still alive during refrigeration and it needs to be fed at least once every 2 months. But it is very easy to forget about it considering how caught up one can get in daily life tasks. 

Your best bet is to label the sourdough jar or container with the date of storage so you never lose track of its feeding schedule. Always remember that the starter will die if not fed after regular intervals. 

How to store the sourdough starter in the freezer?

  1. Transfer your activated and bubbly sourdough starter into a freezer-safe bag or tub.
  1. For added protection, put this freezer bag into a bigger-sized bag. This will prevent freezer burn. 

To freeze the sourdough starter in small portions, follow the steps below.

  1. Make a makeshift pre-fermenter by using a large bowl and adding a large amount of flour and water to it. This will yield a large amount of sourdough starter. Loosely cover the bowl or container with a cloth or lid.
  1. When the starter starts to bubble, divide it into portions you would normally use in one baking session,  and transfer them into silicone muffin molds
  1. After a few hours of pre-freezing, remove the starter portions from the molds and shift them into a large heavy-duty freezer bag. 
  1. Put a clear label on the bag with the date of storage and pop it in the freezer.

How to activate frozen sourdough starter?

  1. Remove the sourdough starter from the freezer and stick it in the fridge. Leave it in the fridge for 12 hours or until completely thawed. 
  1. Feed the starter like you normally would. It will take about 2-3 feeding before becoming fully active.

Advantages of freezing sourdough starter

Freezing is a perfect option if you do not have someone to look after your starter for a while. Because the freezer completely inhibits the growth of the starter culture, unlike the fridge that only slows it down. 

This means you do not have to schedule its feeding according to its hibernation time. Just feed the thawed starter once or twice and you are good to go. Frozen sourdough starter can last up to a year, so, it is a good option when you are vacationing. 

Disadvantages of freezing sourdough starter 

Your best bet is to double pack or vacuum-seal the frozen starter culture. Because there are always high chances of freezer burn that can degrade the quality of your sourdough starter and bread, eventually. 

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “How long can you keep the sourdough starter in the fridge?”, and how to refrigerate and freeze your sourdough starter?

References

https://www.acouplecooks.com/how-to-feed-sourdough-starter/
https://www.acouplecooks.com/how-to-feed-sourdough-starter/

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.