Reviving a Dead Sourdough Starter

Even we obsessive sourdough lovers sometimes end up with a starter that seems to have gone into a coma. We get busy and before we know it two or three weeks have gone by and no bread has been made. Or if we are lucky, we go on a long vacation and our starter stays home alone. But a seemingly dead starter can be brought back to life. Below are the directions included in my “Making Rustic Breads at Home” class.

If your starter has been neglected for too long it may go dormant. It will not have any bubbling activity and may be covered in a dark liquid (alcohol from the yeast) or even a light gray mold. As long as it has been in the refrigerator, you can revive it!

  • Stir it up (you can remove the mold first if you like, but it’s not absolutely necessary)
  • Discard all but 1/2 cup of the starter
  • Feed it twice each day (1 cup flour, 1/2 cup chlorine free water, discarding half of the starter each day) until active again. This may take anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks.
  • Note – dormant starter that has turned red or pink should be thrown out. This indicates a starter that has been over run with bacteria and is beyond all hope!

Of course, you can always throw out your dead starter and start all over again. A mature starter though has much more complex flavor than a new starter, so I do recommend resuscitating your dead starter if at all possible.

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About the Author

Renee Pottle, an author and heart-healthy educator, loves to explore and write about the Mediterranean Diet. She blogs at and

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  1. […] sourdough from scratch see our posts on how to get your starter going, how to keep it going, and how to revive a dead starter too! Share this:ShareTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponEmailFacebookPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to […]

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