Left active starter uncovered for 18 hours...OOPS


I fed my lovely active (6-month old) sourdough starter and then accidentally left it UNCOVERED (at room temperature, about 70 degrees) for about 18 hours. It formed a dry crust on the top but otherwise seemed ok. Is it safe to continue to use? I have fed it again while awaiting a reply from those more experienced than me... thanks!!!

198 users have voted.


gongoozler 2012 April 9


I've been making bread for many years but only started experimenting with sourdough a couple of years ago.

Inspired by a visit to the Boudin Bakery in San Francisco I mixed up some flour and water in a small plastic bowl, covered it with muslin and left it on top of a pile of logs alongside the stove. Of course I didn't really expect anything to happen and when I looked at it after three days it seemed to have dried up completely with a hard crust on the top.

However, when I removed this crust I found a small amount of reasonably liquid mix which was actually showing signs of bubbling! I fed it regularly for a couple of weeks and then baked.with it. First effort came out a bit flat but was perfectly edible. It gradually built up its strength and soon became very reliable.

I am still using that same starter (it has even crossed the Atlantic with me twice) and continue to get excellent results. (of course my baking technique has improved too).

Incidentally, you might like to try keeping some dried starter as a back up. Simply spread some nice, active starter on a sheet of baking paper with a rubber spatula and allow to dry (about 30 degrees C is ideal). Pulverize the result with a pestle and mortar or one of those small food processors and put in the freezer. Reconstitute it by mixing with a little tepid water and some flour. It will take at least a week of regular feeding to get back into its stride.,

mirr99 2012 April 11

Hello. My name is Maria, I am learning to prepare bread and I am interesting in your web so I would like to be part of it.


Thanks in advance.



lluisanunez's picture
lluisanunez 2012 April 11

I'm learning as well (I started with sourdough bread just last november) :-) 

You're welcome to explore the forums, tutorials, blogs and recipes here, and to post any qüestions you may have, along with your experiences, photos... you'll see everybody here are very kind and generous, and there is a treasure of knowledge and inspiration

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