Reviving Carl’s Starter

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The Brochure available for download here is a historical document. It is a lightly edited version of the brochure that Carl sent out with starter. The instructions in the brochure work just as well as they always have. However, with the fresh start that we are sending out, we have found that potato starch, from potato water or dry granules, and sugar are not necessary to reconstitute the starter. Plain white flour and water will do just fine.

Following is a method to revive the start that I like better than the one detailed in the brochure:

  1. Get a small container.
  2. If necessary, pulverize your chunk of starter.
  3. Begin with one tablespoon of lukewarm water, stir in 1/2 teaspoon of your starter and let stand for a few minutes to soften the start granules.
  4. Then mix in one tablespoon of flour.
  5. Depending on the flour, you may need to add an additional teaspoon or two of water.
  6. You want the mixture to be like a thin pancake batter.
  7. When the mixture gets bubbly, put it in a little larger container.
  8. Then stir in remainder of starter, 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of flour.
  9. When that mix rises up add 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of flour.
  10. When this bubbles up, you will have about one cup of very active starter that is ready for use or storage in your refrigerator.

The time between refreshments will depend mainly on temperature. You can expect the first sign of starter activity to take from four to 12 hours.


o I use the baby formula wrist test to judge the temperature of the water. A few drops on your wrist should feel neither warm nor cold.

o A baby food jar and an 18-ounce peanut butter jar work well for the small and large containers.

o Established starter will do fine in any room temperature that is comfortable for humans. Warmer room temperature is helpful when reviving start, but do not go over 85F if at all possible. Cooler temperatures just extend the time required. If room temperature is under 68F, I find a warmer spot such as the top of my refrigerator or a cold oven with the light on.

o Vigorous stirring of the mixture from time to time will slightly shorten the time between growth stages, but is not necessary for success. I use this method to test start before shipping and just stir enough to mix the ingredients.

Regarding the vinegar “kick”, and the use of dry yeast in a few of the recipes Carl transcribed, we don’t do it, but heck, it might work for you.

Good luck with your sourdough,

“Carlos” October 19, 2003

Find more like this: Grandpa's Use Only

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