Author Topic: Re-activating 6 year old starter  (Read 1483 times)

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Offline PizzaDanPizzaMan

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Re-activating 6 year old starter
« on: January 07, 2012, 11:08:00 AM »
I've had a couple of jars of Camaldoli and Ischia starter stored in mason jars in the back of a spare fridge for several years. Probably close to 6 years. Is it possible to re-activate them? The jars have about an inch of culture on the bottom with at least a half inch of liquor on top. Upon opening one of the jars I was pleasantly surprised at the aroma, not pungent nor sour but mild and pleasant with a touch of alchohol. I did some quick googling but mainly found instructions on activating dried. I've been away from the forums for a very long time but thought I could get some good advice here, as always.
Thanks for any replies.
Dan


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Re-activating 6 year old starter
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2012, 11:33:17 AM »
Well, you can always try.  I'd dumped the hooch on top along with 50% of old starter, and refeed.   It may take 3-4 feedings, but it should come back to life no problem.

Offline PizzaDanPizzaMan

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Re: Re-activating 6 year old starter
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2012, 12:14:53 PM »
Well, you can always try.  I'd dumped the hooch on top along with 50% of old starter, and refeed.   It may take 3-4 feedings, but it should come back to life no problem.

Okay I dumped the liquor and spooned out as much of the top surface, which was a little darker off white, slightly grey in color and then got to the whitier, milky lower stuff. Scooped a half cup or so into a clean jar, fed with 1/8 cup flour and a little less than that filtered water and covered. Will keep on the counter for a while and hope for some activity. So should I feed it every 8 hours or so, dumping out half the existing every time? It's been a long while since I did this.
Thanks again,

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Re-activating 6 year old starter
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2012, 12:41:07 PM »
I'd let it go for at least 24 hours before you dump any and feed. If it comes back, I think it will take several days. I would not be at all suprised if you saw no activity in the first 24 hours.

CL
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Re-activating 6 year old starter
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2012, 12:52:29 PM »
I agree, just mix it up well, cover and let it sit until you see activity.  It may take  12 hours or longer.  Only after its active, do you dump half and refeed.  It'll be ready to use when it becomes really active after a few hours of feeding.

Offline PizzaDanPizzaMan

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Re: Re-activating 6 year old starter
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2012, 01:34:27 PM »
Well as stated in post #3, I already have dumped and fed. So we'll see how it goes over the next several hours (days?). If this one fails I still have 3 more jars to try and resurrect.
Thanks guys.

Offline PizzaDanPizzaMan

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Re: Re-activating 6 year old starter
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2012, 07:19:33 PM »
Well I'm happy to say, that it only took a day and a half and I have what appears to be, perfectly good starter. I washed again this morning after some marginal activity and in less than 4 hours it has almost tripled in size and smells terrific. I don't have any good flour to make pizza dough so I think a good loaf of bread is on the menu soon, pizza for next weekend.
Thanks for encouraging me to work this as I probably would have tossed it. My wife has just recently (a new year's resolution I believe) decided to unplug the extra fridge and threatened to toss the cultures. I'm glad she hadn't yet done it.

BTW, I think my homemade incubator, recovered from deep in the garage, was a huge contributor to the success.

Thanks again guys,
Dan
« Last Edit: January 08, 2012, 08:32:05 PM by PizzaDanPizzaMan »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Re-activating 6 year old starter
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2012, 08:40:51 PM »
Nice job on the reactivation.  I like the home made incubator.  If you are looking for an easy bread method, take a look here. 

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,13613.0.html

Use starter instead of IDY.  10% of the flour weight in starter and the bread will be ready to bake in about 12 hours at a room temperature of 75F.   20% and it will be ready in about 8 hours.   Adjust your hydration ration accordingly to the strength of flour.  Better to start off with a slighty drier dough than a wetter one.  Don't forget to post pics.

Chau

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Re-activating 6 year old starter
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2012, 08:43:06 PM »
I forgot to mention that if you want to save some of that starter in a dry form, just take 2-3 Tablespoons of it and spread it really thin on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.  Let it air dry and store it in a ziplock bag.  It will store for many years.  You can reactivate it should you ever lose your current starter.



Offline PizzaDanPizzaMan

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Re: Re-activating 6 year old starter
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2012, 08:55:45 PM »
Nice job on the reactivation.  I like the home made incubator.  If you are looking for an easy bread method, take a look here. 

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,13613.0.html

Use starter instead of IDY.  10% of the flour weight in starter and the bread will be ready to bake in about 12 hours at a room temperature of 75F.   20% and it will be ready in about 8 hours.   Adjust your hydration ration accordingly to the strength of flour.  Better to start off with a slighty drier dough than a wetter one.  Don't forget to post pics.

Chau


Hi Jackie,
I had to edit my post about bread tonight, once I got back into my archives and realized there would be at least an overnight fermentation still required. I've been away from the "starters" for awhile. But I'm excited to get back into the pre-fermented doughs. I will take a look at the post you referenced. I will also take some of my culture and dry it as you suggest. Then I won't regret saying "yes" when my wife asks me if she can throw out the "ugly stuff in the jars".
Thanks again and I'll re-post my pizza/bread results.


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Re-activating 6 year old starter
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2012, 09:01:33 PM »
Dan not to rush you but if your starter is ready (fully active and a bit of it will float in water), you can mix up bread dough in a matter of 10-15minutes and then let it rest in the fridge overnight or until you can have a few hours to prep it for baking the next day.  Take a look at the Lazy Man's Bread that I linked to.  It makes bread making easy and with little effort.

If you decide not to use it tonight and the starter is active, you may consider dumping about 25% of it and refeed, then into the fridge.

Good luck.
Chau
« Last Edit: January 08, 2012, 09:03:25 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline PizzaDanPizzaMan

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Re: Re-activating 6 year old starter
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2012, 09:14:45 PM »
Jackie, I just quickly skimmed through your post. I definitely want to try that process, I don't know if it will be tonight but I will take your advice on the re-feed and fridge if not.
Thanks again,


 

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