Sourdough starter is composed of fermented flour and water. It is a leavening agent that uses naturally occurring yeasts and bacteria to make sourdough bread. It isn’t easy to make but it is essential if you want perfect sourdough bread.
However, what if you have gone to the trouble of making sourdough starter but have some left over? The answer is to freeze it. It’s easy to freeze but it goes into hibernation in the freezer so when you come to thaw it, the process of activating it is complicated. You have to feed it and it takes time for the sourdough starter to grow again.
How To Freeze Sourdough Starter
1. Put the sourdough starter in an airtight container.
Don’t fill the container right up to the top as the starter will expand when it is put in the freezer. Put a label on the container with the date you put it in the freezer.
2. Put the container in the freezer.
Tips For Freezing Sourdough Starter
- Divide your sourdough starter into single-use portions. This is a good idea if you have a lot of the starter and plan to make just one or two loaves at a time. This will help to avoid waste.
- Ensure that your sourdough starter is bubbly before you freeze it. It needs to be alive enough to come out of hibernation.
- It is only worth freezing the sourdough starter if you want to use it in the future. It lasts for two weeks in the fridge so if you make sourdough bread frequently, you might not need to freeze the sourdough starter.
For How Long Can You Freeze Sourdough Starter?
Sourdough starter can be frozen for up to a year. This is handy if you make sourdough bread infrequently.
How Do You Defrost Sourdough Starter?
You need to bring the yeast back to life so it takes some work before you can bake your sourdough bread. This is the way to do it:
1. Put the sourdough starter in the fridge.
It is best to allow the sourdough starter to thaw slowly and steadily so that it keeps its texture.
2. Discard half the sourdough starter.
If you don’t discard half of it, it will grow too big and become unmanageable. You would end up having to use too much flour and the starter would become acidic.
3. Feed the sourdough starter.
Yeast is hungry when it comes out of hibernation, so you need to start a feeding schedule similar to the one you used to make the starter. To 4 oz of starter, add 4 oz flour and 4 oz lukewarm water. Make sure that the water doesn’t contain chlorine. Use distilled, filtered, or purified water. Let your starter rest at room temperature, keeping it covered. Do this twice a day until you start to see the starter bubbling. This means that it is active again and can be used. This can take a few days so be patient.
Can You Refreeze Sourdough Bread?
Most food shouldn’t be frozen twice, and this is certainly the case with sourdough starter. This is because it is live yeast and is quite hard to defrost. The more times you freeze the sourdough starter, the less chance it will have of becoming active again.
Is It a Good Idea To Freeze Sourdough Starter?
It might seem a little strange to freeze something that is live because you will be putting it to sleep. However, it is easier to make a more substantial amount of sourdough starter rather than a small amount. Of course, you may make sourdough bread every couple of days. In this case, you won’t need to freeze it as it will keep in the fridge for two weeks. However, if you make the bread intermittently, it is better to freeze it rather than throw away the leftovers. Just remember that there is work to be done after you have defrosted it and it will take some days before you can use it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing sourdough starter but in case you are still curious or want to know more about sourdough bread, we have answered a few questions here.
What exactly is sourdough bread?
Sourdough bread is a type of bread that is made from dough that has been fermented using wild Lactobacillaceae and yeast. Lactic acid is formed by fermentation and gives the bread a sour taste. This process also means that the bread will keep for longer. It is about as natural as you can get when it comes to bread.
Can you freeze sourdough bread?
Yes, you can freeze sourdough bread but you need to think about how much you are going to use at one time. If you are a big family, you will probably need at least half a loaf but if you are on your own, you might only want a slice or two. If you need a loaf or half a loaf, wrap it in clingfilm and then put it in a freezer bag, remembering to squeeze out all the air so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. If you just want a slice or two at a time, wrap each slice individually in cling film and then bag up. You can then take out only as many slices as you need.
Can you freeze sourdough dough?
Yes, you can, and the process is similar to freezing sourdough starter.
Is there anything else you can make with sourdough starter?
Yes, you can make brioche, crumpets, waffles, cookies, and burger buns. Other good choices are pretzels, cinnamon muffins, pancakes, banana bread, chocolate cake, tortillas, and crackers. The options are endless. You don’t just have to make sourdough bread out of sourdough starter even though it is absolutely delicious just as bread.
Is sourdough bread better for you than other bread?
It is. It contains higher levels of folate and antioxidants than other bread. Because it has lower phytate levels, it allows you to absorb the nutrients more easily. It is also easier to digest than other breads.