Natural starter cultures generally stay at an optimal health level if they are fed or recultured on a regular basis. But what if you need to take an extended break or leave town?
For the occasional break, natural starter cultures such as heirloom-variety yogurts, sourdough, kombucha, and kefir grains can be safely put on hold with just a few simple steps.
To take an extended break from working with a sourdough starter, place a snug lid on your freshly fed sourdough starter and place the container in the refrigerator. Gluten-based sourdough starters will generally keep for up to a few weeks in the fridge although we do not recommend storing a sourdough starter for more than a week on a regular basis. For more information, consult our article on taking a break from making sourdough.
Yogurt or Buttermilk Starters
If you are working with an heirloom-variety culture, the method used for putting the starter on hold will depend on how long you need to leave your yogurt or buttermilk. We provide complete instructions on taking a break from making yogurt. Our heirloom buttermilk culture can be placed on hold using the same methods.
Kombucha is often the easiest culture to take a break from, as the culturing time is longer than that of other starter cultures. However, when necessary, there are a few options for taking a break from making Kombucha.
Milk Kefir Grains
The simplest method to preserve milk kefir grains is to place the kefir grains in fresh milk, cover the container with a snug lid, and place the jar in the fridge. For complete instructions, read our article how to take a break from making Milk Kefir
Water Kefir Grains
The simplest method to preserve water kefir grains is to place the kefir grains in fresh sugar water, cover the container with a snug lid, and place the jar in the fridge. For complete instructions, read our article how to take a break from Making Water Kefir