Can Sourdough Starter Be Frozen? (the ultimate guide)

Let me ask you a question…


Have exerted a lot of effort to get your sourdough starter going and to maintain the yeast’s health and happiness while in the process learning you do not have the time to bake sourdough bread once or twice every week (happens to the best of us)?


This leads us to the question: can sourdough starter be frozen? After doing the research, here’s what I uncovered.


Best Method: There is no issue with freezing a sourdough starter, as this can be done. It is helpful to have your sourdough prepared and ready to go because it enables you to freeze it in portions and then simply thaw the amount that you need to use, which saves a significant amount of time.



After conducting additional research, I was able to unearth additional information that is important for you to be aware of; therefore, I encourage you to continue reading…


Why Should You Store Your Starter Instead of Feeding It?

FYI: Because sourdough starters require some effort on the part of the baker, many bakers prefer not to make this type of bread…


It may be necessary for you to feed your starter as frequently as once a day, although this may vary according on the time of year and the temperature in your kitchen.


During the warmer months, you can even discover that you have more yeast than you require. The fact of the matter is that many of us just do not have the time to add one more errand to our already lengthy daily to-do list.


It is possible to forget about sourdough starters; but, the yeast will perish if it is not fed on a regular schedule. This typical issue can be remedied by maintaining the starter at a lower temperature, which will slow down (or postpone) the activity of the yeast.


It is the answer that’s ideal for the occasional bread baker who wants to keep that beautiful starting alive but also wants to avoid the maintenance that comes along with it.


You can either keep your beginning in the refrigerator or the freezer. These are your two alternatives…


In either case, it will preserve the organisms, and as soon as they thaw and you return to a feeding schedule, they will be as energetic as they were when you first got them out of the freezer.


Frozen vs. Refrigerated Starter Storage (what’s the better storage method)?

It’s really up to you whether or not you want to keep your sourdough starter in the fridge or the freezer. The frequency with which you plan to bake sourdough bread is an important consideration for you to make.


The best alternative for you is to refrigerate your sourdough starter if you want to bake sourdough once every two weeks or even once a month.


On the other hand, if you want to keep a starting for a long time, you should freeze it. This is the best way to do so…


When you know that you will not be baking for at least a month or two, or when you are traveling, or if you want to preserve a rare beginning and use it just for special occasions, this is the best method to employ.


In either scenario, there is no call for the starter to be fed. It will enter a state of dormancy, similar to that of a bear that has hibernated for the winter, and it will no longer be necessary to feed it additional flour and water to keep it alive.


Instructions for Freezing Sourdough Starter?

FYI: Your beginning storage solution for the long term is the freezer, and it does not require any food to be put into it…


When it comes to planning ahead for your very first loaf of sourdough bread, the same piece of advice holds true. On the other hand, because the temperature has been significantly lower, you should probably give it a full week to warm up and become entirely active once more.


Because each starter is distinct in its own way, you should base your decision on the knowledge and expertise you’ve gained over the years.


Best Method For Freezing Your Sourdough Starter:


  • Put one cup of starting into a container that can be frozen or a plastic bag that can.

  • When the time comes, take the starting out of the freezer and let it defrost in a bowl at room temperature before using it.


How to Keep Your Sourdough Starter Refrigerated?

Regardless of whether you choose to keep your sourdough starter in the freezer or the refrigerator, you will need to make preparations for your baking.


It is preferable to wait between two and three days before using the starter so that it can reacclimate to the temperature and become active again.


During this period, make sure to feed the starter in order to get it off to a strong start and guarantee that your first loaf will be a success.


Best Method for Storing Your Sourdough Starter in the Fridge:


  • Put one cup of your active sourdough starter into a jar that has a cover that can be tightly sealed. Place the jar in the refrigerator.

  • If the starting is highly liquid, you will probably have more success by making it a little more solid. To accomplish this, mix together equal portions of flour and water (you can add equal parts flour and water after warming to bring it back to a more liquid state).

  • After closing the lid, move the jar to the section of the refrigerator that is the coldest.

  • Once a month, give your beginning some food.

  • When it’s almost time to start baking, take the starting out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.


When Should the Sourdough Starter NOT be Frozen?

To begin, before we get into anything else, let’s talk about the situations in which you should NEVER freeze sourdough starter…


The practice of freezing your sourdough starter if it is less than a few months old is not encouraged. The yeast and bacteria will not yet have matured to the point where they are resilient enough to survive the freezing process.


Although it can take anywhere from one to three weeks for a fresh new sourdough starter to become active enough to create bread with, it does contain a living colony of bacteria and yeast that continue to develop and increase over time.


After a period of around three months, during which time it will continue to develop stronger, your brand-new fresh sourdough starter will be considered “mature.”


It is at this point that it has reached the point of sufficient strength in terms of the complexity and amount of yeast and bacteria that it contains in order for it to withstand the process of freezing.


A QUICK HINT: After this time of three months, your sourdough starter should be mature enough to be able to withstand a little neglect every now and then and still thrive. After reaching this point, you have earned the right to be a little more careless about it!


Therefore, it is not really a good time to freeze your sourdough starter if you have just finished making it. It will need to be maintained, and you will need to continue to re-hydrate and feed it for a good few months before it is robust enough to freeze.


What Happens to Sourdough Starter When It Is Frozen?

It is common knowledge that you should never freeze a sourdough baby starting; but, does freezing sourdough starter itself have a detrimental effect on the starter?


The answer is both yes and no. A sourdough starter that is mature (meaning it has been active for at least a few months) is actually highly resilient.


It is able to withstand temperatures below freezing pretty well, and the lactic acid bacteria and yeast can continue to live even in the freezers that are the coldest. However, there is a loss of some of the yeasts.


When frozen, the rest of the yeasts enter a state of dormancy, but when they are thawed, there will be more than enough to reawaken your sourdough starter.


Therefore, any damage that may have been inflicted, like as yeasts that were killed off during the freezing process, will be restored once the sourdough starter is revitalized and nurtured once again. Therefore, there is absolutely no long-term impact at all.


When your sourdough starter is frozen, it is like putting it to sleep until you are ready to utilize it again. You can think of this as putting it into hibernation. And then once it has been revived, it will return to normal within a few days at the most at the absolute earliest.


How to Bring a Frozen Sourdough Starter Back to Life? (thank me later)

Now that your sourdough starting has been frozen, the following is a method that you can use to bring the starter back to life whenever you want to bake again so that you may make the best possible sourdough bread.


Determine the number of parts of sourdough starter you will require; this will be determined by the number of loaves of sourdough bread you intend to bake.


After making your choice, remove the appropriate quantity of food from the freezer and put it in the refrigerator. In the course of the day, let the starter to defrost in the refrigerator.


After the sourdough starter has completely defrosted, you can remove it from the refrigerator. It is time to add more flour to your sourdough starter.


You will need to begin providing your beginning with consistent feedings if you want it to begin producing once more. In order to maintain the health of your starting, you will need to provide it with food once or twice every day, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.


After one day of consistently adding food to your beginning, you should begin to observe indicators of activity, such as the formation of bubbles and the growth of your starter.


If you haven’t seen any of these indicators after a day, you shouldn’t worry about it because every sourdough starter is different.


You just need to continue feeding your sourdough starting on a regular basis according to the schedule you normally use, and you should start seeing indications of life in your starter very soon.


Once your sourdough starter has begun to exhibit signs of life, it is ready to be put to use in the process of making your sourdough bread.


Related Questions:

1. Do you feed sourdough starter before freezing?


Your beginning storage solution for the long term is the freezer, and it does not require any food to be put into it. When it comes to planning ahead for your very first loaf of sourdough bread, the same piece of advice holds true. On the other hand, because the temperature has been significantly lower, you should probably give it a full week to warm up and become entirely active once more.


2. When to put sourdough starter in fridge?


Give the starter a chance to rest at room temperature (approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least two hours; this provides the yeast a chance to warm up and start feeding on the sugars in the mixture. After approximately two hours, the starter should be replaced in the storage container it came in and then chilled.


Final Thoughts

What exactly did we study in class today? We now know that freezing a sourdough starter is not problematic because it is possible to do it…


Your sourdough will be more useful if it is prepared and ready to use because you may freeze it in sections and then quickly thaw the amount you need, which will save you a lot of time.


Additionally, many bakers prefer not to create sourdough bread because it requires some effort on their part to maintain sourdough starters.


You might need to feed your beginning as often as once per day, though this will depend on the season and the temperature in your kitchen.


You might even find that you have more yeast than you need during the warmer months. In actuality, many of us just lack the time to add another errand to our already lengthy daily to-do list.


Sourdough starters can be neglected, but if they are not fed on a regular basis, the yeast will expire. By keeping the starting at a lower temperature, the yeast activity will be slowed (or delayed), which will solve this common problem.


Enjoy the rest of your day, always stay safe, and treat others with kindness & respect. Until next time!

Can Sourdough Starter Be Frozen? (the ultimate guide)