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How To: Store Sourdough Starter

Learn how to store your sourdough starter 4 different ways. You can store your starter at room temperature, in the fridge, in the freezer and dehydrate it too! Pick the one that suits your baking style!

You're done! You've conquered all the sourdough recipes on the internet.

It's been a massive success, and a massive undertaking and now, you're ready to slow down. Tired of the stretch and fold, tired of feeding sourdough babies! And even tired of baking sourdough bread. Gasp!

It happens to every sourdough baker I know. A whirlwind honeymoon with daily dough-ing, and then a cool-down phase. It's ok to take a break!

There are 4 main ways to store your own sourdough starter, and I'll go through all of them in detail to help you decide the best one for you and your wild (yeast) child!

This how to store sourdough starter guide is dedicated to takin' 5!

Sourdough starter in a mason jar with a spoon in it.
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Tips + Tricks

No. 1 --> If you found this blog post via a massive rabbit hole and you don't have a starter yet, check out my incredible easy (literally 24 hour) sourdough starter recipe!

No. 2 --> If you're drowning in sourdough starter and discard, make sure you're storing your sourdough discard properly and check out What To Do With Sourdough Discard to help use some of it up.

No. 3 --> For ALL storage methods below, use a fed and active starter. I always use all purpose flour for my starters, but you should always feed them the flour they are used to, be it whole wheat flour or rye flour, or spelt, or whatever!

No. 4 --> Not looking to take a break from your sourdough starter? Freezing and drying sourdough starter are excellent contingency plans in the event that something happens to your rockstar starter.

No. 5 --> See the bottom of the post for a printable storage guide!

Active sourdough starter in a jar.

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How To Store Sourdough At Room Temperature

Pro:

If you're an avid baker and you're wanting to bake daily or every other day, storing your starter at room temperature makes the most sense.

  • Your sourdough starter is ready to use within 4-6 hours after a feeding.
  • It's easy to remember to feed it!

Con:

  • It's hungry at room temperature. You'll feed it every day and amass a container of discard in the fridge.

To Store:

  1. Each day, at roughly the same time, feed your starter. 50g starter, 50g water, 50g flour, and discard any remaining starter. If you find you bake a lot, and use recipes with larger quantities of starter, simply keep more of your starter. Increase the starter quantity to 100g, then feed it 100g water, and 100g flour.
  2. Transfer to a clean container or jar.
  3. Set in a warm, safe place.

PRO TIP: Figure out the best sourdough starter jar for you and your needs! There are few considerations to make, and it can be helpful to check out my guide.

Bubbly active sourdough starter in a plastic container.

How To Store Sourdough Starter In The Fridge

If you're a less active baker, say a couple of times a week to once a month, this is a great storage method for you. Keeping the sourdough starter in the fridge helps to slow the yeast fermentation down substantially.

Pro:

  • Much less work than storing at room temperature.
  • Less feeding and discarding than storing at room temperature.
  • A great way to take a non-permanent break from your sourdough starter.

Con:

  • The starter may take 12 hours to be ready to use.
  • Can be forgotten in the back of the fridge.

To store:

  1. Feed your sourdough starter with 50g starter, 50g water, and 50g flour, discard the remaining starter.
  2. Transfer the starter to a clean jar or container. Label the container with the contents and the date. This helps to prevent well-meaning, fridge cleaning spouses from tossing it!
  3. Within 7-8 days, remove the starter from the fridge, allow it to come to room temperature for 2-3 hours and then feed again, 50g starter, 50g water, and 50g flour. The reason we allow it to rest at room temperature is to wake up the yeast and to make it easier to mix when feeding. Sourdough starter can be dense and difficult to mix directly out of the fridge.
  4. Transfer to a clean jar and label with the date and the contents, and feed within 7-8 days.

PRO TIP: Even if you forget your starter in the back of the fridge for 4 months and 20 some odd days, say from May till September, it is possible to revive a forgotten sourdough starter!

Sourdough starter in a container with fed date labeled on the lid.

How To Freeze Sourdough Starter

I know what you're thinking: can you freeze sourdough starter? And the answer is YES!

Freezing a sourdough starter is a quick and easy way to take a break from your starter and even build in a backup to your sourdough starter!

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).

Con:

  • Can harm the yeast if the wild yeast captured isn't hearty enough.
  • Can get freezer burn which can harm the yeast.
  • Takes a little longer to revive this way.

To Store:

The best way to store sourdough starter in the freezer is to portion it into small quantities in freezer bags.

  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.

To revive:

  1. Allow the frozen bag of starter to thaw at room temperature until warmed through. About 1 hour.
  2. Feed 50g starter with 50g water and 50g flour every 24 hours until it's bubbly and active!

PRO TIP: You can use store sourdough discard and Amish Friendship Bread starter in the freezer!

How To Dry Sourdough Starter

The easiest way, in my opinion, to store sourdough starter for the long term is to dehydrate it!

This is an incredibly easy process and if properly stored in an airtight environment, the dehydrated sourdough starter should last indefinitely.

dried sourdough starter in a bail type mason jar.

Pro:

  • Easy to do.
  • Requires no special tools.
  • Lasts indefinitely when stored properly.
  • Great way to share your starter.
  • Both starter and discard can be dried.

Con:

  • Takes a while.
  • Discard may need 1 -2 extra feedings to be revived vs frozen starter.
  • Fed and bubbly starter is difficult to spread thinly.
  • Dried starter broken into chunks is takes longer to rehydrate and revive vs a powdered starter.

To store:

  1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper sheet.
  2. Spread a dollop of starter or discard in a thin layer.
  3. Set aside in a safe place to dry naturally, this could take up to 3 days. If the top layer is hard and dried after day 2, peel it from the parchment or silicone mat and flip over and allow to dry for another 24 hours to ensure the entire thickness is completely dried.
  4. Break the dried starter into chunks or process it in a blender or food processor into a powder.
  5. Store the starter in an airtight container, I like mason jars, in a dark cupboard indefinitely.

To revive:

  1. Add 50g starter to a small bowl, and add 50g warm water (80-85f), stir well.
  2. Allow it to sit and rehydrate for 12 -24 hours.
  3. Weigh 50g of the starter/water and feed starter with 50g water and 50g flour every 24 hours until bubbly and active.

Final Thoughts

Storing sourdough starter is a personal decision. BUT, if you're like me, you've got contingencies for your contingencies!

I am not ashamed to say I have a counter starter, a fridge starter, a freezer starter, and a dried starter. Plus I've been sharing little bits of my starter with family and friends, so the legacy of the starter will live on! Haha!

This way I'm always ready for the sourdough baking urges. Even if I've forgotten my starter behind a jar of pickles for the last 8 months.

📖 Printable Recipe

dried sourdough starter in a bail type mason jar.
Yield: 1

How To: Store Sourdough Starter

Materials

  • containers
  • plastic bag
  • baking sheet
  • parchment paper or silicone mat
  • mason jars

Instructions

How to store sourdough starter at room temperature

If you're an avid baker and you're wanting to bake or every other day, storing your starter at room temperature makes the most sense.

To Store:

  1. Each day, at roughly the same time, feed your starter. 50g starter, 50g water, 50g flour, discard any remaining starter.
  2. Transfer to a clean container or jar.
  3. Set in a warm, safe place.

PRO TIP: I used to use jars, but now I use these awesome plastic containers I found at a restaurant supply store. I found SOME SIMILAR PLASTIC CONTAINERS on Amazon. They're great for sourdough!

how to store sourdough starter in the fridge

If you're a less active baker, say a couple of times a week to once a month, this is a great storage method for you. Keeping the sourdough starter in the fridge helps to slow the yeast fermentation down substantially.

To store:

  1. Feed your sourdough starter with 50g starter, 50g water, and 50g flour, discard the remaining starter.
  2. Transfer the starter to a clean jar or container. Label the container with the contents and the date. This helps to prevent well-meaning, fridge cleaning spouses from tossing it!
  3. Within 7-8 days, remove the starter from the fridge, allow it to come to room temperature for 2-3 hours and then feed again, 50g starter, 50g water, and 50g flour. The reason we allow it to rest at room temperature is to wake up the yeast and to make it easier to mix when feeding. Sourdough starter can be dense and difficult to mix directly out of the fridge.
  4. Transfer to a clean jar and label with the date and the contents, and feed within 7-8 days.


how to freeze sourdough starter

Freezing a sourdough starter is a quick and easy way to take a break from your starter and even build in back up to your sourdough starter.

To Store:

The best way to store sourdough starter in the freezer is to portion it into small quantities in freezer bags.

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.

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.

To revive:

Allow the frozen bag of starter to thaw at room temperature until warmed through. About 1 hour.

Feed 50g starter with 50g water and 50g flour every 24 hours until it's bubbly and active

how to dry sourdough starter

The easiest way to store sourdough starter for the long term is to dehydrate it!

This is an incredibly easy process and if properly stored in an airtight environment, the dehydrated sourdough starter should last indefinitely

To store:

Prepare a baking sheet by lining with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper sheet.

Spread a dollop of starter or discard in a thin layer.

Set aside in a safe place to dry naturally, this could take up to 3 days. If the top layer is hard and dried after day 2, peel it from the parchment or silicone mat and flip over and allow to dry for another 24 hours to ensure the entire thickness is completely dried.

Break the dried starter into chunks or process it in a blender or food processor into a powder.

Store the starter in an airtight container, I like mason jars, in a dark cupboard indefinitely.

To revive:

Add 50g starter to a small bowl, and add 50g warm water (80-85f), stir well.

Allow it to sit and rehydrate for 12 -24 hours.

Weigh 50g of the starter/water and feed starter with 50g water and 50g flour every 24 hours until bubbly and active.

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Taz

Friday 21st of October 2022

Thank you for this article. I started making sourdough almost three years ago. I dehydrated some starter for just in case. I also froze some, but that has been used up. I keep my starter in the fridge year around. I take it it is the fridge the night before. Feed it in the morning, and make up my bread dough around noon. The starter might get to stay it for a couple days if I’m baking a lot.

Now that my starter is older, I think I will dehydrate some more. Thank you!

Ally

Saturday 22nd of October 2022

I love having a dehydrated sourdough starter! I actually recently sent some of my dehydrated starter to live with my brother-in-law in the next province. He couldn't take the live culture on the plane but luckily I had 2 jars of dried started I could share with him.

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