I have now been baking sourdough for 12 months and starting to feel comfortable with it. To refine my techniques I did a course at the Red Beard Bakery in Trentham, Victoria. It was a good course and I was able to master shaping (hurrah) and find out where to access some really good flour. Like many of my sourdough companions here, I keep my starter in the fridge when it is not being used. On the course I was warned that doing this risks developing listeria in your starter. I have tried to find more information about this with no success. I am still keeping my starter in the fridge and feeding weekly but am nervous that I am about to poison the whole family! Does anyone out there have any information or experience, as I would be curious to know more?
P.S. Thanks for a great site, have managed to largely teach myself to make some damn fine bread... and loving it.
I have never heard this about starter, so it's news to me. My starter is now over two years old and I have kept it in the refrigerator for most of that time feeding once a week. No problems here!
Maybe find a new place for lessons. Or, better, make Red Beard explain the comment and post it here.
Have not managed to kill anyone yet with my starter. I don't think you have to worry about it. Maybe they were talking about if you never refresh your starter and keep it in the refrigerator for like 6 months? Anyway, it is common practice to keep it in the refrigerator when not using and we can't all be wrong about that.
Thanks for such an informative post Sara.
Thank you so much for all your replies, especially Sara's thoughts on the subject. I do feel reassured and like your analytical approach. Thanks again.
Well Listeria is everywhere. Yes, it causes problems, as does E. coli, eboli, cholera, and a very large number of other infectious microorganism. To name this particular organism, without any specifics, is silly from anyone's point of view. Either the poster, or the source, ought to take time to post a follow up as to why this is important to bakers. Or, forget it.