Bring your sourdough starter back to life.
When you’re ready to revive the starter, measure out 1 ounce (or about 1/8 of it, if you’d been following a regular feeding pattern and had about 8 ounces starter on hand at the beginning of the drying process).
Don’t have a scale? Well, depending on the size of your chips, this will be between 1/4 and 1/3 cup.
Mix the starter with lukewarm water.
Place the dried starter chips in a large (at least 1-pint) container. Add 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of lukewarm water. The water should barely cover the chips; tamp them down, if necessary.
Stir the chips/water occasionally; it’ll take 3 hours or so, with infrequent attention, to dissolve the chips.
Feed it with flour.
Once the mixture is fairly smooth/liquid, with perhaps just a couple of small undissolved chips, feed it with 1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) of unbleached all-purpose flour. Cover it lightly (a shower cap works well here), and place it somewhere warm.
I like to use my electric oven with the light turned on. Even without ever turning on the heat, it holds a constant temperature between 85°F and 90°F.
You can certainly keep your starter out of the oven, at room temperature; just understand that this whole process, as I’ll describe it, will take longer. The cooler the room, the longer it takes sourdough starter to work.
Let it rest somewhere warm until it bubbles.
Let the starter work for 24 hours. At the end of that time, you should see some bubbles starting to form. Remember, this is at about 85°F; if your temperature is lower, this will take longer.
How much longer? Totally depends on temperature. Once you do this process once – in your kitchen, in your climate, accounting for your weather – you’ll have a better idea.
Sourdough isn’t one of those things you can be all engineering about. Forget your timer; just wait until your starter looks like the picture above.
Feed the starter again.
WITHOUT DISCARDING ANY OF THE STARTER, feed it with 1 ounce of lukewarm water, and 1 ounce of flour. Cover, and put back in its warm spot. After “X” hours (depends on your kitchen), you should see some serious bubbling; mine took eight hours to become nice and bubbly.
Feed the starter again – 1 ounce of lukewarm water, 1 ounce of flour – cover, and wait. Again, you’re not discarding any at this point.
Here’s my starter 12 hours later. It’s exhibiting a host of tiny bubbles, and has expanded. You may also notice, from the side of the container, that it’s risen, and then fallen; this is completely natural.
Put the starter back on its regular feeding schedule.
Your starter is ready to return to its former life – and its regular schedule. DISCARD all but 4 ounces (about 1/2 cup). Feed it again, this time with 4 ounces each lukewarm water and flour. (That’s 1/2 cup of water, and 1 cup of flour, for those of you without a scale. Tell me again why you don’t have a scale?)
This time, it should really expand quickly. In my 85°F oven, it took just 4 hours for it to triple in size. Your starter is now revived and healthy.
At last – you’re ready to bake!
To ready the starter for baking (while saving enough for another day), feed it again. Discard all but 4 ounces; and feed the remainder with 4 ounces each lukewarm water and flour. Let it become bubbly – and let the baking begin!
So… You’ve revived your sourdough starter – Now what?
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Author: PJ Hamel
Original Posting Date: May 1, 2015