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So, as many people in lockdown I wanted to bake a sourdough bread. I received a starter from a friend that I keep in my fridge. I took the starter out of the fridge, fed it, and mixed the flour and water for it to autolyse. However, my starter barely raised. I assume due to it being in the fridge for quite a while. So, after about six hours, I took a half of it away and fed it again.

My question is if it is OK to leave the mix to autolyse for a long time, maybe even over night, until the starter is properly ready?

Also if you have any other tips I am missing they would be greatly appreciated.

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Yes letting the sourdough sit at room temperature over night should work. This is in fact the way I handle the refreshing of my Lievito Madre usually and from my experience sourdoughs tend to be robust enough that some hours more or less should not matter much. When starting a culture it´s even common to let it sit at room temperature for up to two days between the feedings. But I would not recommend to let it sit for such a long time before storing it in the fridge again because even there the process does not stop entirely and also consumes some food. To get more life into your dough also ensure it is sitting warm enough. For me room temperature at ~20°C works well usually but if you are experiencing trouble to get it started again aiming higher at around 28°C might also help as the bacterias are getting more active at warmer temperatures. (Autolyse does not exactly mean refreshing/feeding of sourdough. It a process where just flour and water is mixed before other ingredients (yeast, salt, ...) are added to reduce kneading and improve taste and texture.)

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  • Thanks for the tips on reviving the starter. I meant that I started the autolyse process by mixing 500g of flour with water while my starter was supposed to rise in a separate container. Can I just use the flour and water mix when the starter is ready even when that might take a day? Usually autolysis was recomended for only about an hour or two. I wouldnt want it to ruin it my chances for a reasonably good bread.
    – David O
    Jul 2 '20 at 18:02
  • Yes, that matches what I know about it. Even 2h seem to me rather long for autolysis. So I wouldn´t plan to do it for such a long time. On the other hand there should not happen too much with the dough. So if it is already sitting on your work bench and you don´t want to throw it away it should be possible to just pop it in the fridge (to reduce the activity of the wild yeasts in it) until your starter is ready.
    – J. Mueller
    Jul 2 '20 at 18:39
  • Great! Thank you
    – David O
    Jul 2 '20 at 18:42

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