How to Dry Sourdough Starter

Easy and doesn’t require any fancy equipment – drying out sourdough starter is the best way to preserve your starter for over a year! 

What is dried sourdough starter?

Dried sourdough starter is exactly what it sounds like – it’s that goopy bubbly wild yeast that is spread out thin and left to dry naturally. These dried pieces can be broken apart or even ground up into a powder. Its dried form preserves all of the natural bacteria that it had when it was alive, wet, and bubbly. 

I dry it out, then keep it airtight and store in my freezer. It lasts well over a year when treated this way! 

When you are ready to use it again in baking, activating it is simple and takes less than 3 days (as opposed to the 7-14 days it takes to make one from scratch!). Essentially all you do is add flour and water, wait, feed it flour and water one more time, wait, and it becomes bubbly again ready to use! I have full instructions on how to activate it again here. 

Benefits to dried sourdough starter

Keeping sourdough stater in dried form is smart for many reasons and it’s easy to do. After going through the work to build and maintain an active starter, all it takes is a few more easy steps to have a preserved form at your finger tips. Vacation, moving, gifting, starter gone bad – whatever it is – a backup preserved starter can save you! 


Here are instances it’s been a benefit in my home. Yes, as embarrassing as some of these may be, they have all been real occurrences for me. And every time I’ve been SO grateful I have a dried version to easily get back at it. 

  • When you accidentally use all you sourdough starter in a recipe and wash the jar without leaving any behind to feed again.
  • If you put your starter in the oven to keep warm, but then accidentally preheat your oven and bake the starter. 
  • When you want to gift some to a friend, it is easy and gives them no pressure to have to feed it right away – they can start their sourdough journey at their own time as opposed to giving them a fresh version!
  • When you are moving across the country and don’t want to worry about how to transport the live version and worry about it staying alive.
  • Going on an extended vacation and want to take some starter with you to bake with while you’re there!
  • When you don’t want to maintain one over the hot summer months, you can easily dry some out and start again with ease in the winter! 
  • When you accidentally neglect your sourdough starter and it’s gone moldy! 

How to properly dry out sourdough starter

1. Feed your existing starter so that it can become active and bubbly. The “leaven” form as it is often referred to as. It should be at its “peak, meaning it’s been fed and about 6-12 hours has gone by, making it bubbly and active enough that you’d use it to make bread. 

2. Line a baking sheet or counter top with parchment paper. 

3. Using an offset spatula or similar utensil, spread an even, thin layer of starter onto the parchment paper. It dries best when it’s paper thin, where you can practically see through to the parchment paper. 

4. Set it aside in a warm, dry location. No need to cover, as that will just trap moisture in. Leave it for about 24 hours. This may take slightly more or less time depending on the temperature and humidity. It’s safe to package up when the starter is completely dry and brittle. 

5. Once dry, break it into small pieces or you can also grind it into a powder (a food processor works great fo this). Either way is fine. Store it in an airtight bag/container in the freezer or cool dry place. Expect it to keep for at least one year. If you vacuum seal it tight, it’ll store even longer. 

6. When you are ready to activate it again, the process is simple and takes less than 3 days. Here are instructions on how to activate dried sourdough starter again. 

wet sourdough starter on pan
dried sourdoughs starter on pan
dried sourdough starter in pieces

Video Tutorial

Follow along with this video tutorial to see how to easy it is to dry sourdough starter. 

More Sourdough Resources...

If you’ve found this post helpful and tried it out, I’d love to see your journey on Instagram. Tag @loskitchenco and leave a comment below! 

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments