How To: Freeze Sourdough Starter

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Master the art of freezing your sourdough starter with our comprehensive guide. Learn the step-by-step process for storage, thawing, and reactivating your frozen starter.

Ever found yourself with a little too much starter on your hands, or maybe life’s getting in the way of your baking plans? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. And guess what? You don’t have to bid farewell to your beloved starter.

The solution? Freezing it!

Yes, you heard it right! Your sourdough starter can take a chill pill, but don’t worry – freezing sourdough starter is such an easy process. It’s like sending your starter on a little winter vacation, where it slows down but doesn’t lose its magic.

Sourdough starter prepared for freezing.

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Why Freeze Sourdough Starter

But why freeze your sourdough starter, you ask? Well, each sourdough starter is a unique little ecosystem, brewing its own special flavors that make your bread taste oh-so-delicious. As you feed and nurture it over time, it grows more robust and flavorful.

By freezing it, you’re essentially capturing all those wonderful flavors in a moment of time, ready to be awakened for future baking escapades. The freezer essentially puts the yeast into hibernation, slowing down its activity without killing it. This means you can pick up right where you left off when you’re ready to bake again.

Not only does the freezing process give you a chance to preserve that distinct flavor, but it also serves as a great backup plan. If, heaven forbid, something happens to your active starter (a moment of silence for our fallen yeasty friends), you’ll have a frozen stash ready to step into the limelight.

Having a backup of your starter in the freezer is always a smart move. Accidents happen – maybe your active starter gets contaminated or used up unexpectedly. With a frozen stash, you’ll always have a plan B.

It’s also a great way to preserve your starter when you need to take a break from bread baking. Plus frozen starter can be shared with friends or family who are interested in baking sourdough but don’t want to start from scratch. It’s a little piece of your kitchen that you can pass on to others.

So, whether it’s about preserving flavors, having a backup, or sharing the joy of baking, freezing your sourdough starter is a handy trick to have up your sleeve.

Ripe sourdough starter in a mason jar.

Pros + Cons

Pro:

  • Excellent for long-term storage, up to 12 months.
  • No feeding is required while frozen.
  • You bake infrequently, but still want to have a starter on hand.
  • Frozen starter usually bounces back within 1-2 feedings (1-2 days).
  • Allows you to take a break from the regular feeding schedule.

Con:

  • Can harm the yeast if the wild yeast captured isn’t hearty enough or you’re working with a new sourdough starter.
  • Can get freezer burn which can harm the yeast.
  • Takes a little longer to resume the fermentation process.

Try A New Sourdough Bread Recipe


Tips


  • Because freezing is a bit harder on the microbes, it’s best to wait until you have a mature sourdough starter to use this method. If your starter is younger than 12 weeks, I’d advise waiting or perhaps dehydrating your starter instead. Dried starter is another great long term storage option.
  • Sourdough starter can be frozen in ziplock bags like I do, in oversized ice cube trays, or even in silicone muffin liners. I like to use ziplock bags because they thaw quickly, and pack flat and freezer space is always at a premium here!
  • Freeze your starter in smaller portions, this enables you to take out smaller amounts to thaw and revive without having too much on hand.
  • Pro Tip: You can also store sourdough discard and Amish Friendship Bread starter in the freezer too!

More Sourdough Guides

How To Freeze Sourdough Starter

The best way to store your sourdough starter in the freezer is to divide it and add a small portion to each freezer bag or container.

  1. Feed your starter and wait until it’s bubbly, active, and has doubled in size. Portion 1/2 cup – 1 cup of starter into a small ziplock bag. Lay flat and squeeze the air out of the bag before sealing.
  2. Label the bag and include the date. Place in the freezer for safekeeping!
  3. The frozen sourdough starter that’s not damaged by freezer burn or thaw/freeze cycles will last up to 12 months or more.

Storage

  1. Freeze in Portions: Freeze your sourdough starter in usable portions. This could be 1 cup or 1/2 cup increments, depending on how much you typically use at a time. This allows you to only thaw what you need.
  2. Use Freezer-Safe Containers: Use freezer safe plastic bags or containers to store your starter – if using glass containers – first freeze your sourdough starter in ice cube trays or cupcake liners, then transfer to the glass jar once frozen. It can be helpful to separate each layer with a piece of parchment paper.
  3. Label and Date: Always label your containers with the date of freezing. While your starter can stay in the freezer for a long time (up to a year), this helps to you use the oldest starter first, keeping your stock fresher.
  4. Keep it in the Bag: Store frozen sourdough starter in the back part of your freezer, away from temperature fluctuations.

All About Sourdough Starters

Revive Frozen Starter

  1. Allow the frozen starter to thaw at room temperature until warmed through, around 12 hours.
  2. Feed 50g starter with 50g water and 50g fresh flour every 24 hours until it’s bubbly and active!

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📖 Printable Recipe

Sourdough starter prepared for freezing.

How To Freeze Sourdough Starter

Allyson Letal
Unlock the secret to preserving your sourdough starter by freezing it. This in-depth guide teaches you how to effectively freeze, thaw and revive your sourdough starter, ensuring it's always ready for your next baking project.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Freezing Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Course Preserved
Cuisine American
Servings 1
Calories 228 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup sourdough starter active

Instructions
 

Freeze Sourdough Starter:

  • Feed starter and wait until it's bubbly, active, and has doubled in size. Portion ½ cup to 1 cup of starter into a small ziplock bag. Lay flat and squeeze the air out of the bag before sealing.
  • Label the bag and include the date. Place in the freezer for safekeeping!
  • The frozen sourdough starter that's not damaged by freezer burn or thaw/freeze cycles will last up to 12 months or more.

Revive Frozen Starter:

  • Allow the frozen starter to thaw at room temperature until warmed through, around 12 hours.
  • Feed 50g starter with 50g water and 50g fresh flour every 24 hours until it's bubbly and active!

Notes

storage

  1. Freeze in Portions: Freeze your sourdough starter in usable portions. This could be 1 cup or 1/2 cup increments, depending on how much you typically use at a time. This allows you to only thaw what you need.
  2. Use Freezer-Safe Containers: Use freezer safe plastic bags or containers to store your starter – if using glass containers – first freeze your sourdough starter in ice cube trays or cupcake liners, then transfer to the glass jar once frozen. It can be helpful to separate each layer with a piece of parchment paper.
  3. Label and Date: Always label your containers with the date of freezing. While your starter can stay in the freezer for a long time (up to a year), this helps to you use the oldest starter first, keeping your stock fresher.
  4. Keep it in the Bag: Store frozen sourdough starter in the back part of your freezer, away from temperature fluctuations.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 228kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 7gFat: 1gSodium: 4mgFiber: 2g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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2 Comments

  1. My starter consists of 30 g starter, 125 g water, and 140 g flour… if I freeze it, should I do your ratio after thawing?

    1. Hey Jessica, you can continue feeding it however is most comfortable to you, but I like to use the 1:1:1 ratio because its 100% hydration – almost all sourdough recipes rely on a 100% hydration starter unless the specifically call for a stiff starter.