Author Topic: Can sourdough starter be kept frozen for any length of time and still be viable?  (Read 4981 times)

opsec

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After the crash, you won't be able to run to the store to get fresh yeast. Can you freeze it in little cubes and use as needed or will it die?
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Beeherder

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does 3 years count as long enough to be a test?

my starter is fine after years in the freezer, just be sure its a chest freezer without the automagic defrost feature.

Atash Hagmahani

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Sourdough isn't yeast; it's Lactobacillis.

Virtually all instructions for using it that I have ever seen are wrong. Real sourdough was fermented batter, to which more flour and baking soda were added, to make sourdough flapjacks. Sourdough flapjacks aren't particularly sour; the baking soda at least partially neutralizes the acidity. You don't add eggs to sourdough flapjacks; I dunno why but reputedly they end up with an interesting texture without eggs.

Reputedly a French baker in San Francisco added some to his bread, to invent San Francisco style sourdough bread. But he would have been using real yeast too, and probably just added some sourdough starter to the bread. The sourdough will NOT leaven the bread.

To harvest wild yeast, look for fruits with waxy-looking coatings on them. Grapes work well (fancy that), and so will reasonably fresh raisins. Add the skins to a batter, then keep mixing some of the old batter to a new batter until you have a high enough concentration of yeast for a starter.

Freezing does not kill yeast. Yeast is tough. It will live dormant in the freezer for about a year. A freezer works well for yeast starters because then they don't spoil. Otherwise, the yeast has to deal with invaders including potentially molds and undesirable bacteria.
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Beeherder

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i wonder how it would keep sealed tight in a mason jar in a cool room? duh, guess i know how to find out. I'll get back to ya on that.

Atash Hagmahani

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Beeherder, by "it" do you mean sourdough or yeast?

Sourdough can potentially keep indefinitely at room temperature but you have to use it frequently, keep it clean, and watch for contamination. If worse comes to worse you can re-start it.

Technically you can restart yeast too but it's not as easy. If you had to restart yeast you could use store-bought organic raisins.
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Beeherder

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Yes, my starter has been with me almost 12 years now. I use it about two or three times a month and feed it whenever i use some. In that time i have chosen to restart from the stuff i put in the freezer for just such an occasion maybe 4 or 5 times in those dozen years. And the question i put to myself is how well will it keep in a tightly sealed jar stored in the cool room instead of the freezer?

 

hippiechick

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I freeze my sourdough starter and it still works great. I use mine for crepes. They are delicious and a quick easy alternative to bread.
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opsec

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Cool. Now I know. Thanks to all.
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Atash Hagmahani

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I freeze my sourdough starter and it still works great. I use mine for crepes. They are delicious and a quick easy alternative to bread.

Hippychick, can you describe those crepes? Do you put egg in them? Texture? Acidity? Now I'm curious.
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Lady Lilya

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Worst case scenario, you can always start a new wild ferment from what is floating around in the air.  Sourdough bacteria is nothing special.  (Some ferments are very specific cultures that you have to put in deliberately, like kefir or kombucha, but sourdough is just standard air bacteria.)  You would just need to mix the medium and keep it in conditions that lactobacillus likes and other bacteria dislikes.  Mostly a matter of temperature.

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hippiechick

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I freeze my sourdough starter and it still works great. I use mine for crepes. They are delicious and a quick easy alternative to bread.

Hippychick, can you describe those crepes? Do you put egg in them? Texture? Acidity? Now I'm curious.

The crepes can be made in variety of ways, sometimes I simply fry the sourdough starter as is, sometimes I add a little egg, or milk, you can also add honey, etc. Its fun to experiment.  They are great with fruit or to roll up little tortita like sandwiches with veggies, meats, etc.
They take seconds to make, and the sourdough flavor is a real treat. The texture is like a flour tortita, acidity is sourdough, they are super healthy thanks to the fermented process of the sourdough.

I personally am a huge fan of fermented foods.
How much better is it to get wisdom than gold. Proverbs 16:16

Lady Lilya

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We started fermenting Kombucha last night.  I have sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, kefir and miso already.  If I had a good source of quality cream, I'd like to do sour cream.  And I would like to do more veggie ferments. 
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hippiechick

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I have done sauerkraut, corn, cucumbers, garlic and onions. I wish I would have done turnips. I tasted some from someone else and they were delicious. I also do sourdough of course, water kiefer, homemade wines ( although I seldom drink them) and villi and fil mojok....they are dairy or soy products...tasted and used like yogurt and buttermilk. If they weren't so hard to ship I'd offer starts, but shipping the dairy would be tough. I have offered starts to local friends, but most people aren't interested.
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Dame

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I found some instructions on line (some time ago and did not copy the link) about dehydrating sourdough starter and then restarting the reconstituted dry sourdough later.  The instructions said it takes about a cup of dehydrated to restart the process.  I have not tried this myself.

bunkie

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i was just reading about deydrating sourdough starter yesterday...

...Drying a starter (making flakes)

If you want to keep starter unused for a longer period of time than a few weeks, or if you want to send some through the mail to a friend, you can easily dehydrate it into flakes. Using starter that has been fed the day before, spread a paper-thin layer onto a sheet of plastic wrap and let it sit a day or two until it dries. It can then be broken into flakes and stored indefinitely in a dry place. Once you have a successful starter, it is a good idea to dry some as a back-up. I have heard many heart-breaking stories from people whose starter (often many years old) got thrown out by some well-meaning houseguest because it appeared to be something gone bad.
To reconstitute the flakes, put about a tablespoon of flakes into a glass or plastic bowl (not metal) that will hold about four cups. Mix the flakes with about a tablespoon of lukewarm water to form a paste. Gradually mix into the paste another cup of lukewarm water, then stir in one and a quarter cups of flour. Mix well, although the mixture does not have to be free of lumps. You should have approximately one cup of a batter the consistency of pancake batter. Cover the bowl lightly (not air-tight) and put in a warm spot where the temperature is 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (not warmer). Allow it to sit overnight.

After standing, there should be bubbles covering the surface and the volume should have increased a little. If so, you now have a starter. If only a few bubbles have formed, let it sit another day. If it appears not to have changed, then the reconstitution was not successful....


http://home.teleport.com/~packham/sourdo.htm