HOW TO DEHYDRATE SOURDOUGH STARTER:
If you’re a cheapskate like me who doesn’t want to throw away any of her sourdough starter, but doesn’t want to end up with tons of mason jars of starters idly lying around waiting to be fed, you’d consider dehydrating those babies and putting them to sleep.
I was an anesthesiologist in my other life so putting someone to sleep and making sure they wake up is engraved in my DNA.
You’d need a well-fed sourdough starter like the one on the top photo, a baking brush, and a palette to paint your starter on (I use the thin, transparent chopping board; thicker ones don’t work well. Some use wax paper).
You don’t need to be an artist to produce these neat brush strokes of sourdough starter on your palette. Seriously, those are rough strokes. I have to confess, I am also a painter. The consistency of sourdough is somewhat like acrylic paint so make thin swift strokes with your wrist. Put your palette in a dry place. I put mine in the proofing drawer. I never knew I had one until my daughter pointed out to me.
When I have more than two palettes, I leave the rest on top of the gas burner (with the burners off!) and they dry faster than the ones in the drawer. Just make sure you don’t have spiders and other critters that would leave their footprints on your masterpiece.
Once they dry, they separate themselves from the palette. I transfer them in any container ready to be pulverized. Some don’t do this and leave the dehydrated flakes as is. I found it easier to activate and incorporate with water when it’s in powder form.
So I use my ever reliable 10-year-old blender to pulverize these kiddos. Tilting and shaking the container makes the process faster.
And then you’re ready to put the dry starters in ziplocks and tightly sealed containers to be stored indefinitely (as one blog claimed). I put a date on mine so I can track activation time.
HOW TO ACTIVATE DEHYDRATE SOURDOUGH STARTER:
Once you’re ready to bake again, mix 2 tbsp of dehydrated sourdough in 1/4 cup warm water. Then add 1 cup flour and 1/2 warm water (feeding recipe) to the mixture.
Pour into two mason jars. Make sure the lids are loose for air to escape. Then store in a warm place. I put mine on the shelf above the microwave/oven. These two jars can make a 1-lb bread.
If you want more starters for future use, just measure out 4 oz of these well-fed bubbly babies and add more of the flour and water (feeding recipe ratio as above) and distribute to more mason jars.
You should end up with 4-5 bottles in two days.
Dehydrate some, refrigerate others, and give away the rest.