Drying Sourdough Starter (an easy guide for preservation)

Drying sourdough starter is easy, especially without a dehydrator. All you’ll need is a piece of parchment paper and a cooling rack or sheet pan. It’s super important to have a dried starter stored away in case anything happens to the one you always use. Think of it as a backup in case yours molds or accidentally gets washed down the drain. 

starter drying on a rack covered in parchment
Source: Plum Branch Home

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Step-By-Step Guide for Drying Sourdough Starter

Feed your starter for 4–12 hours before starting this process.

Line a large wire cooling rack or sheet pan with parchment paper.

measured out starter being spread on paper
Source: Plum Branch Home

Measure out 1/2 cup of sourdough starter and spread it as thin as you can on the parchment.

hand spreading starter on a paper
Source: Plum Branch Home

Once the starter is spread evenly and as thinly as you can, place the rack or pan in a dry, cool place, such as on the counter or in a pantry.

Let the starter dry for the next 24-96 hours. The length of time will depend on the humidity and temperature of your home. It can take up to a week.

fully dried starter on paper
Source: Plum Branch Home

Once the starter is completely dried, break it into pieces and add them all to a blender.

pieces of dried starter in a blender
Source: Plum Branch Home

Blend the dried starter for 20 seconds, then pour it into a Ziplock bag or container.

Store it in a cool, dry place indefinitely.

My Best Tips

  • Make sure you feed your starter 4–12 hours before you start drying it.
  • Use unbleached parchment paper to ensure nothing reacts with the starter cultures.
  • Place the sheet of parchment paper on a wire cooling rack for fast drying rather than a sheet pan.

Why You Would Want To Keep a Dried Sourdough Starter

  • In case of a sourdough emergency aka you accidentally wash out your starter jar, your starter gets moldy, or your jar falls off the counter and breaks.
  • If you’re having trouble reviving your current starter, you have a backup.
  • If someone asks for a starter, you can easily give one away without tons of work.
  • When you go through a season of time where you don’t have time to maintain a starter but want to preserve it instead of throwing it away.

FAQ

Is dried sourdough starter good?

Yes, it’s a great way to ensure you’ll always have a mature starter on hand in case anything happens to your current one. 

How to use dried sourdough starter?

You won’t really want to use it. Instead, keep it in the pantry or cabinet so it’s there in case you ever need it. 

How do you activate a dry sourdough starter?

Contrary to popular belief, you can activate a dry starter overnight. There I said it. I’ve done it many times, and it works super well. Below are my instructions.

rehydration instructions
Source: Plum Branch Home

How long does dried sourdough starter last?

It’ll last indefinitely. There’s no expiration; it can be preserved for decades to come if you choose. 

Does dried sourdough starter need refrigerated?

You don’t need to store it in the fridge; just keep it out of direct sunlight. However, if you prefer, you can store it in the fridge or freezer. 

Do I need to do anything like feed my dried sourdough starter?

Nope, you don’t need to do anything with your starter. Just store it in a cool, dry place like your pantry or in a cabinet. 

Can you buy dried sourdough starter?

Yes, you can buy a dried sourdough starter! I will have some ready to purchase shortly here on the blog. You can also find dried starter at some health food stores and on Etsy. 

baggie full of dried starter
Source: Plum Branch Home

How to Store Dried Sourdough Starter

Store dried starter in a Ziplock baggie or air-tight glass container.

Can you dry sourdough starter in the oven?

Many people do, but I don’t recommend it. The heat can cause issues if the cultures get too hot. 

How to dry a sourdough starter without a dehydrator?

Just follow the instructions above; it’s super simple!

Can I use a dehydrator to dry my starter?

Yes, you can use a dehydrator to dry your starter. 

Can I freeze dry my starter?

I don’t recommend freeze-drying your starter. Many people have inconsistent results when doing this. 

Read These Other Helpful Sourdough Guides

Full Printable Instructions

Drying Sourdough Starter (without a dehydrator)

Prep Time5 minutes
Drying Time2 days
Total Time2 days 5 minutes
Yield: 0.5 cup
Author: Molly of Plum Branch Home

Equipment

  • Unbleached Parchment Paper
  • Wire Cooling Rack or Sheet Pan

Materials

  • 1/2 cup fed sourdough starter

Instructions

  • Feed your starter for 4–12 hours before starting this process.
  • Line a large wire cooling rack or sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Measure out 1/2 cup of sourdough starter and spread it as thin as you can on the parchment.
  • Once the starter is spread evenly and as thinly as you can, place the rack or pan in a dry, cool place, such as on the counter or in a pantry.
  • Let the starter dry for the next 24-96 hours. The length of time will depend on the humidity and temperature of your home. It can take up to a week.
  • Once the starter is completely dried, break it into pieces and add them all to a blender.
  • Blend the dried starter for 20 seconds, then pour it into a Ziplock bag or container.
  • Store it in a cool, dry place indefinitely.

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