Monthly Book Giveaway - February 2023

Sourdough Journey #9: Can you freeze-dry sourdough starter?

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Can you freeze-dry sourdough starter?
Well, of course. 
You can freezedry anything. 
Whether it turns out okay is another story. 

The Experiment

Rather than waste a batch of sourdough discard, I wondered what would happen if I freeze-dried it. 

My goal was to make a powder that could be added to flour. That really was as far ahead as I had thought. 

But, once I had freeze-dried it, ground it to a powder, and added it to some baking mixes (successfully, I might add), I wondered if the yeast could be brought back to life. 

Day 1
Active: I had had my active sourdough starter in the refrigerator. I brought it out and fed it.
Experiment: The freeze-dried, I added water to reconstitute it.

Day 2
AM: In the morning, I fed both the active starter and the experimental freeze-dried one. 
I think this is looking hopeful! I see bubbles. 

PM: At night, I fed the freeze-dried one as well, as it had some pooling of liquid on the top and thought that it might be hungry. 

Day 3
It’s Day 3 and I compare the two starters: my freeze-dried version does not look active. 


Results 

At this point, I feel that the answer to the freeze-drying question is “no”.

Now, back on that first day, when I saw bubbles, maybe it just needed some extra pampering. 

Where there are bubbles, there is yeast? 

But, at Day 3, and it is flat, I feel that trying to revive it would just be creating a sourdough starter from scratch again. 


Will I try this experiment again? 

No.

Why not?
There are other experiments out there where people used dry scrapings and (regular) freezing of starters as long-term options.

And, I read a story, just this morning, about someone finding and bringing back to life yeast from ancient Egyptian finds. That was fascinating and opens the door to so many natural options for saving a yeast. 

Freeze/drying? Although it might work, it just doesn’t need to. 

Next Step
Now, I’m going to use my experimental starter in some discard biscuits. I guess this will be another experiment! 
- Debbie 


Have you tried this? 

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