Reviving a Dried & Live Sourdough Starter

Hello! On my second attempt this went along well per the instructions. I was able to make a beautiful boule. I am planning to bake another in the next couple days. I forgot to score before putting it in the oven, but here are a couple pictures. It tasted great, though I would have liked it even more sour. I allowed it 24 hours on the first rise. I’m thinking I need to get the starter to develop more.

Nice! Congrats.

I revived the starter in the Twin cities area around the beginning of November in a house with not great insulation (i.e cold). It took two attempts with the final attempt taking about 12 days. At about day 4 you have to vigilant in feeding twice a day. My first attempt was one a day for a week and I got some weird junk growing on the sides of my jar. I learned on my second to feed the starter more frequently, but wasnt getting the rise until I wrapped the vessel in a tea towel and put on top of the refrigerator. The twice daily feedings and the wrap have resulted in a super robust starter. I can take this out of the fridge and feed the night before and it’s doubling in size the next day. These are some of the easy bake pullaparts with the soughdough starter and they were a hit.

Wow, super nice. Great illustration of the power of perseverance :grinning:

Hi y’all, a sourdough newbie here. I just began my starter from the Breadtopia dried starter yesterday following the instructions above and using Distilled Water.
Today is Day 2 and it already looks like it’s bubbling a tiny bit and I just fed it. So far, so good.
Our house is a little cool (~70°F) so I wrapped the base of the pinch dish in a clean rolled up dishcloth to help keep it warm.
As part of the sourdough kit, I got the big jar too, I was wondering at what stage do I transfer the starter to the jar? On Day 4 it goes into a small bowl but when does it go into the jar?
I’m now wrestling with what recipe I want to start with, so many choices!
Thanks for the help!

@BreadBunny, I started my sourdough journey earlier this year. For my first bread, I just chose Eric’s sourdough no-knead. With his videos and well written out recipes it was awesome and I’ve been baking ever since. BTW, it’s just my personal opinion but I don’t think you have to use distilled water to feed your sourdough. Distilled water may produce a more bland-tasting sourdough as there are not minerals in the water due to the distillation process. Do not use tap water due to the chlorine content which will kill your sourdough. However, a natural spring water (NOT sparkling) does work awesomely. That’s what I use. Enjoy your baking journey!


Thanks Leah, appreciate your input. Distilled water was all I had on hand and I couldn’t wait to get started.
I plan to switch to spring water when I get to the store and I was concerned about chlorine so that’s why I used the distilled (my iron won’t mind me sharing!).
Day 4 and everything is looking good so far. I’m still wondering about when to move it to the jar, I guess once the bowl gets full - tomorrow’s step is to move it to a larger bowl.
It’s already a journey, can’t wait until I have enough to actually tackle a loaf!

IMHO, you made a GREAT choice choosing to use distilled water over regular tap water! You saved your sourdough! Obviously your sourdough is doing quite well. You can certainly continue using distilled water if your sourdough continues to like it and you like how your bread comes out. When I was gifted a batch of sourdough the lady who gave it to me told me she fed it spring water so that’s what I continued with. She also told me never to use tap water because of the chlorine in it. That’s the reason I knew to avoid tap water. As far as when to transfer to a bigger jar, I haven’t a clue! Mine was in a mason jar when I got him, LOL! I actually now use one of the large jars from Breadtopia to keep my sourdough in and I love it. I was using a mason jar with a paper filter over the top but my sourdough was getting “funky” every few days and I would have to scrape “gunk” off the top of him and then transfer him to another jar all the time. When I switched to one of the 1.5 qt sized Italian glass jars from Breadtopia, I’ve never had that problem occur again and my sourdough is very happy. I think there must have been some kind of unfriendly bacteria/mold on those paper filters. Now that Cyril (that’s my sourdough’s name) is in his current jar, he’s very happy.


Hi there! I’m using the Breadtopia dried starter and started one with an organic hard white bread flour I purchased the other day as well as another with a regular old white flour. I’m completely new at this so figured I might as well. Neither one seems to have the consistency shown in this video, both are much drier and chunkier, and when extra water was added, it kind of ended up separating after a few hours. I mixed both starters thoroughly. It’s only day 2 so I might just be impatient, but I’m hoping others have experienced and it will end up OK after day 3! #ImpatientBaking

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I began reviving the de-hydrated sourdough starter per the instructions on 1/14/19 however on Day 3 I was seeing bubbles but no rise and followed the instructions to add additional flour on Day 4 with no water. By the next morning there still wasn’t much rise and I was giving up hope that the starter would live so I began a new one from scratch. Now about two days later the starter is rising much more (about double what it was on Day 5 but still not to the top of the lid of the container - the same container used in the video). I’m not sure what to do next! There are signs of fermentation but it has been two days since the last feeding and I’m not sure whether to continue feeding with same ratio of flour/water or give it a bit more flour alone to feed on. It is a bit chilly where I live which may be affecting the rise, but I would love any advice on where to go from here to try and keep my starter alive!

Thank you!!

Oh I am so happy to read this! I did the same thing (gah!) Im going to wait and see.

Hi Eric,

I’m still new to sourdough. I was trying to split the starter in halves for easier storage. My digital scale seemed to have messed up and I think one of the jars was not fed double its weight correctly. I think that jar has more flours than water. It looks quite clumpy. Is there anyway I can correct this?

I’ve just fed them so I am still waiting to see if they survive. Is it possible just to feed small amount of flour and water instead of double the weight of the starter while storing them?

Hi Tanna?

I don’t think you have to worry about it not surviving. There’s a pretty wide range of starter management styles that work. I think if you watch this video and read through the text and as many of the reader comments as you can, it’ll give a boost of confidence.

I am having a problem reviving a dried sourdough starter and hope someone can offer advice. I received my dried starter in August; on February 15th, I started reviving it, using the instructions in the video. A bubble or two appeared after the first day. Then, I noticed nothing.

After the third day, instead of transferring to a larger bowl with more flour, I kept up with the smaller feedings of 1 tbsp flour and between 1 and 2 tsp of filtered water. My house is cool in the winter, so after the third day I put the pinch bowl on top of a small-watt heat plate (covered with a dish rag) that I had used for making kombucha. The plate kept my kombucha at the mid-80s, so I figured it would be okay to use here.

On the fourth day, there was still no activity, and a somewhat hardened crust formed on the top. I mixed that in when adding more flour and then folded the dish rag twice to effectively dial back the warmth a bit. I also opted to switch from older King Arthur organic bread flour that I had kept in my refrigerator (more than a year old) to Arrowhead Mills organic wheat flour that was only a couple months old and also kept in my refrigerator. Beginning on the fifth day (the 19th), I started adding flour twice a day. Still, I have noticed no activity, except for maybe a bubble or two this morning. From the beginning, I’ve noticed a slightly sour smell.

Have I messed up the results by not using just-purchased flour? Have I done anything else that might have ruined the process?

Thank you for any suggestions you may have!

I have an update. Yesterday, the sixth day, I noticed that the starter had bubbles and expanded. So I moved it to a larger container and added a third of a cup of flour and a quarter cup of water. A lot of expansion happened overnight, so I moved the starter to a still larger container this morning.

I’ll assume that using older flour at first resulted in the delayed activity, but I’d still appreciate any comments. Thanks!

Totally possible that it was the flour, but there are so many invisible variables that it’s really hard to guess from just a basic description of the situation. One thing that can happen if you have never worked with sourdough starter before and don’t have a sense of the effect of different consistencies is that if you have a pretty wet (runny) consistency, then you may not see many bubbles or any expansion because the liquidy starter just lets the bubbles bubble right out the top without pushing anything up. To see the expansion it needs to be in the right consistency range which is kind of stiff - quite a bit stiffer than pancake batter for example.

From your update it sounds like you have a good starter going now. The sour smell you’ve been noting is a pretty reliable sign that you were on the right track.

Thank you, Paul. I think I can chalk up the problem to primarily old flour. I followed the measurements as discussed in the video, and the mixture didn’t seem too thin.

I read somewhere that once the developing starter begins doubling in size I should keep that going for about a week before baking. I found a recipe on Breadtopia for traditional whole grain sourdough, which I will probably try then.

Hi all! So happy to report my live starter arrived yesterday and it refreshed overnight and is well into the second feeding. I was worried about purchasing a live starter as we live in a rural, mountain setting so I knew it would take extra time to get to us. It ended up taking 6 days. I can’t wait to bake with it tomorrow.

Thanks Eric!

:+1: Cool.

Hi Eric, thanks for the video tutorial on how to revive the starter. I’m a new bie of sourdough stuff. How to use the starter after reviving it 4 days in a row? I saw some video in you tube, the process involves folding 3 to 4 times on the container.

Pls help me out by giving it more detail step by step process.
I just bought the dry starter.

I’m kinda loss here.

Many thanks.