Drying out sourdough starter is very simple, and a great way to provide yourself with some back up, but also the perfect way to share some with other people.
Please note: before sending any of your lovely dried starter to new sourdough bakers, I highly suggest testing it to make sure it successfully fully revives. To this end, I have included details of how I revive my dried Star at the end of the page. Star is very strong and only a small amount is needed to create a new starter from her, yours might be different, so experiment with the dry amount you aim to revive to ensure it’s all working as it should.
Let’s share the sourdough starter love: feed it, dry it, test it, send it!
Your starter, fed and active
A metal spoon
Good quality parchment paper or a silpat/silicone baking sheet (not greaseproof/waxed paper, it will stick and not come off)
Fine mesh food cover.
Feed your starter, ideally a double or triple feeding for the purpose.
Once active, lay a large piece of parchment paper on an area of your kitchen surface where it can remain for 2-3 days.
Spoon the active starter onto the sheet, leaving your standard base amount in the bowl/jar, then use the spoon to spread the starter as thinly as possible on the paper. The thinner it is, the faster it will dry out.
Cover with the food cover and leave for 2-3 days until fully dried out. I air dry mine, if you have a dehydrator you can make it faster, or use a very very low temperature in your oven.
Once dried it will be a darker colour and will start to lift off the paper itself. Fold the paper up to break up the dried starter (this way you don’t need to actually handle it) and tip the broken bits into a clean jar. You can leave it in larger pieces or break it down more in a clean blender.
You can now gift and send portions to friends and family so that they can share your sourdough joy, or you can store it in an airtight container in a cool dark place for several months.
To revive: I mix 15g of dried Star with 80g flour and 90g water, stir well and leave it in a firmly covered bowl for 24-36 hours to bubble up and fully come back to life, then it’s fully revived and ready to use. During that time I give it a couple of stirs. Then follow the usual guidelines for how to use it…
Please note: my starter is made with, and revived with, strong white bread flour; if your starter is made from a different flour, it may need different ratios and longer to revive it.