Can I Use Sourdough Starter Straight from Fridge?

Plenty of people opt to store their sourdough starter in the fridge, or they’re at least thinking about doing so. The primary concern is whether or not it can be used straight from the refrigerator and if the results will be affected. 

So, what’s the deal? Can you use a sourdough starter straight from the fridge?

You can use a sourdough starter straight from the fridge, especially if it’s only been there for a day or two. If it’s been in the refrigerator for a week or longer, it’s recommended to feed and “activate” the sourdough starter and bring it to room temperature before using it.

Hello, hello, hello! I’m Michelle, and I’ve been baking bread for the past few years. I have learned a lot during my journey. And you know what? I know just how hard it is to make a perfect loaf of sourdough, so don’t feel bad about having 1,000+ questions.

Let’s discuss how to use a sourdough starter from the fridge.

Can I Use Sourdough Starter Straight from Fridge?

Can you use a sourdough starter straight from the fridge? Well, yeah, kind of. There is definitely a right way and a wrong way to go about it – that is, if you want the *best* results. 

If you’re “OK” with just “OK” results, then forget everything else on this post and use the sourdough starter straight from the fridge.

Sourdough Starter in the Fridge for 2 Days or Less

It’s ideal to use a sourdough starter that’s been in the fridge for two days or less, as you won’t have to worry about bringing it to room temperature before using it. You also shouldn’t have to feed or activate it. Simply take it out of the fridge and add it to your recipe, and voila! 

Sourdough Starter in the Fridge For a Week or More

If your sourdough starter has been in the fridge for a week or longer and you haven’t refreshed it in the meantime, things get a little bit trickier. That’s because it won’t be as “active” as a fresh sourdough starter or somewhat fresh starter that hasn’t been in the fridge for long.

Can you still use it, though? Absolutely. You will just need to refresh the starter before using it. To do that, “feed” your sourdough starter by adding flour and water to the starter. Wait for it to double before using it. This could take a few hours or up to 12 hours at room temperature.

If you have been diligent about refreshing your sourdough starter a few times per week, you won’t need to worry about it needing to activate for long periods. Simply use it as usual. 

Tip: You don’t necessarily “have” to activate your sourdough starter. It will still work, but it will be far less effective. You won’t end up with the same desired results. However, it’s an option if you’re in a pinch!

Should I Bring Sourdough to Room Temp Before Baking?

Surprisingly enough, you do not need to bring sourdough to room temp before baking. However, I highly recommend that you do. It’s all about the result. I want a beautifully plump sourdough loaded with a distinct flavor and desirable texture – don’t you?

Whether stored in the fridge for a day or a week, consider bringing the sourdough starter to room temperature before using it. Don’t want to wait? You can also use warmer water for your dough or add a few extra minutes to the proofing time.

Why is this important? Well, using a cold sourdough starter can lead to sourdough bread that rises slowly with a weaker overall gluten structure. It will also have less spring, and some people say that there’s an undesirable acidic scent present. 

In my opinion, it’s best not to risk it.

How Long Does a Sourdough Starter Last in the Fridge?

Just because you can store the sourdough starter in the fridge, it doesn’t mean it will last indefinitely. In fact, the sourdough starter shouldn’t be kept in the refrigerator for longer than a month.

Unfortunately, mold can start to grow on the sourdough starter at this point. And who wants to eat moldy bread? Not me!

FAQs

It’s not complicated – you can use a sourdough starter straight from the fridge. Want to keep learning? I’ve found some important commonly asked questions you might want to know the answer to!

How long does the sourdough starter need to be out of the fridge?

If you are storing your sourdough starter in the fridge and want to bring it to room temperature before using it, set it out for approximately two hours. You will also need to bring it to room temperature before refreshing and storing it back in the fridge. Again, this takes two hours.

Can I use cold sourdough starter?

You can use cold sourdough starter without bringing it to room temperature. However, the quality will suffer ever-so-slightly. It’s recommended to bring the sourdough starter to room temperature before using it, if possible.

Can I use my sourdough starter right after I feed it?

You should not use sourdough starter right after feeding it. You should wait at least two to four hours before using it in your sourdough recipe.

Final Words

You can use a sourdough starter straight from the fridge, especially if active. However, I recommend letting it come to room temperature before using it for the best results.

Do you use your sourdough starter straight from the refrigerator?

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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