While a sourdough starter is quite easy to maintain, at some point you may require a break from feeding your sourdough culture. Whether for vacation or just during a busy time in your life, there are a few ways to store your sourdough, both short- and long-term, and keep it healthy until you are ready to use it again.
Before Taking a Break from Sourdough
- Be sure that your starter is robust and has been activated for at least 30 days before attempting longer refrigeration storage.
- Gluten-free Sourdough Starters will not store as well as gluten-containing starters. Instead of storing a gluten-free starter, find a friend who can feed your starter every few days while you are unable to care for it.
One or Two Week Break
While we normally recommend feeding a sourdough starter weekly when stored in the refrigerator, leaving it a bit longer once or twice per year will not harm the starter. Simply feed the starter as you normally would to maintain it in the refrigerator.
When you are ready to use the starter again, follow the instructions for Preparing Fresh Starter for Baking.
One Month Break
Maintaining a sourdough starter in the refrigerator for a longer period requires a few simple steps to reduce the hydration level of the starter. Follow the instructions for making a dry sourdough starter to keep your starter healthy for about a month.
For long-term storage, it is best to dry the fully active sourdough culture for later use. For complete instructions on how to dehydrate a portion of your starter, consult our article How to Create Sourdough Insurance.
A dried starter, if stored in the refrigerator or freezer, should keep for a year or more. Follow our directions for activating a dried starter when you are ready to get started with sourdough again.