Starter Mistake


I expanded my starter last night and this morning mixed all the other ingredients to make sour dough but I forgot to hold some of the starter back for next time.
I realised this while kneading the dough.
I took some of the dough and put it in my starter jar with some tepid water and some rye flour, have I done the right thing?
The starter was a month old and making some pretty good sourdough.
Will the salt in the dough be a big problem?
Have i unbalanced the yeast bacteria mix?
Should I start from scratch again?

257 users have voted.


black dog 2007 March 29

The salt in the starter should not present too much of a problem, alot of french recipes include salt in the levain or starter.

Treat it the same as yor starter, refresh as normal, DO NOT THROW IT AWAY. By the time you have refreshed it a couple of times the salt content will be insignificant anyway.


TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2007 March 29

I think some people save some dough from their current batch for the next batch, no? Someone gave me a frozen and stiff (not because frozen) starter like that. It even had salt and YEAST in it. I used once (no sour at all) [size=9]and threw the rest away[/size]. Not to confuse things...I mean, in your case, it's perfectly fine to keep refreshing it. I threw mine away because I wanted a pure sourdough.

SourDom 2007 March 29


don't stress - as the others have suggested you can definitely resuscitate your starter just by adding flour and water again. The salt might slow things down, but the yeasties are pretty resilient.
I even read once about someone who didn't realise until they had already put their bread into the oven to bake - that they had forgotten to save back some starter. They apparently used some dough from the centre of the baked/part-baked loaf (I can't remember which it was), and abracadabra - the starter reappeared.

still - an important lesson - don't forget to save some starter!
If you are paranoid (like a few here), you can do the equivalent of a computer backup.
Put some starter aside in a little jar in the back of the fridge. If calamity strikes you will probably be able to use it, even after a long period of neglect. Even better - allow some starter to dry (you can do this by spreading some out thinly on baking paper, then scraping it off when it has all dried), and put it in the freezer.

oh, and back up your computer too while you are at it...


black dog 2007 March 29

Mais oui TP,

whenever i make a yeasted bread i keep some of the dough from the previous bake to add, to be absolutely honest [size=7]i prefer the taste, as often i find the sourness can mask the delicate wheat taste, but dont tell anyone i said this, ill get lynched![/size]


Barry 2007 March 30

Thanks all good news- I've refreshed my starter and it became active after 12 hours I refreshed it again and and put it back in the fridge.
Dom the computer analogy is great as I've lost 2 hard drives in the past so the next time I refresh I'll put some away in the freezer(spreading on baking paper and allowing to dry) just in case.
Thanks everyone for your hands on knowlege much appreciated.

rbd 2007 March 30

Hey Barry,

I've got a number of different cultures in my fridge.

After a few (not so subtle) hints from my better half, I replaced a few of those glass jars hogging space, and changed these cultures to a stiff starter (50% or so hydration) . You only need to keep 50-100g of it and keep it in a small airtight container.

Usually, if you think you're not going to use a starter for a while, or want to make a "backup", it is better to keep it as a stiff starter.

Drying it is also an option, but you may have problems rejuvinating this.

Happy baking


Barry 2007 April 2

Thanks Roland - Great tip, then gradually over a couple of days build it up to the amount needed.

rbd 2007 April 2

Hey Barry,

I normally keep my starters at 100% hydration. Only the ones that I'm not using immedeately, are kept as a stiff starter (50%)
Ie. if I have 100g of stiff starter, I know it consists of ~66g flour and ~33g water.
If I want to rejuvinate this:

stiff starter 66g flour + 33g water
ADD 33g flour + 66g water
100% starter ~100 flour + ~100 water = 200g starter for you to begin a sponge
Adjust these figures to end up with the amount of "wet" starter you want to start with. I normally add the water first and blend well (in a blender if I'm lazy), then add the required additional flour.



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