Sourdough Starter - King Arthur Flour

Sourdough Recipes from King Arthur Flour

Storing Bread

America's Test Kitchen - Best Of


This came from their web pages with details on your starter.

(Scroll down to see the pages included with the original, including a few recipes)

These pages came with the starter

STORAGE: Bread Dough, Baked Bread

Bread Dough: All dough can be refrigerated. Chilling dough slows the activity of the yeast, but it does not stop it completely. For this reason, it is necessary to punch the dough down one or two hours after it has been placed in the refrigerator. Once the dough has completely cooled, it needs to be punched down only once every twenty-four hours. Dough will last approximately three days in the refrigerator; however, it is best to use it within forty-eight hours. 

After the dough is kneaded, place it in a tightly covered, large mixing bowl or self-sealing plastic bag before refrigerating. The refrigeration time is considered the first rise time. To use, remove the dough from the refrigerator, punch it down, and allow it to rest before shaping. The final rising will be longer than indicated in the recipe because the dough will still be cool. Bake according to the recipe directions. 

Dough may also be refrigerated after it has been formed into the desired shape. Cover shaped loaves or rolls tightly and refrigerate up to twenty-four hours. Remove from the refrigerator, partially unwrap, and let rise until they pass the ripe test. Bake according to the recipe directions. 

Yeast dough can also be frozen for later shaping and baking. After the dough has been kneaded, divide it into the sections needed for the finished product, for example, one loaf of bread, one pizza, one pan of rolls. Flatten each section into a 1-inch thick disk. Place in self-sealing plastic bags and freeze. Dough can be kept in the freezer up to four weeks. For an even thaw, place it in the refrigerator overnight. Partially unwrap and place it on the counter for fifteen to twenty minutes to bring it to room temperature. Punch down the dough. Proceed with shaping and the second rising. Dough may also be moved directly from the freezer to the counter for a shorter thawing time. However, the edges will thaw faster than the center, so the dough will have to be worked some as it thaws. 

Dough can also be frozen after being formed into the desired shape, before the second rising. Place shaped dough on a cookie sheet and place it in the freezer one hour to harden. Remove from freezer and wrap in plastic wrap or foil. Place in a self-sealing plastic bag and return it to the freezer. Dough can be kept frozen up to four weeks. To thaw, unwrap the dough and place it on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Lightly oil the top of the shaped dough and cover tightly with a piece of plastic wrap or foil. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator, partially unwrap, and bring to room temperature. Let the dough rise until it passes the ripe test. Bake according to the recipe directions. 

Ripe Test: Many factors, including the recipe, room temperature, and humidity, will determine how long it takes for the dough to rise. The best way to decide whether it has risen sufficiently and is ready to be punched down and shaped is to perform a ripe test. Gently stick two fingers in the risen dough up to the second knuckle and take them out. If the indentations remain, the dough is ripe and ready for punch down. If not, cover and let rise longer. 

Baked Breads: Storing baked breads in the refrigerator dries them out. To retain the freshness of crusty loaves of bread, store them unwrapped at room temperature. Once sliced, place in a paper bag. Soft-crusted loaves can be placed in a plastic bag. Homemade bread contains no preservatives; it usually stays fresh for a short period of time. When bread has lost its freshness, remember, there are croutons, bread crumbs, bread puddings, or your dog. Dogs love hard bread. 

Baked, completely cooled bread can also be successfully frozen. Wrap first in plastic wrap or foil, then place in a self-sealing plastic bag. Freeze for six to eight weeks. Let thaw at room temperature, partially unwrapped to allow moisture to escape. Slicing bread before freezing will make it possible to take out a partial loaf at a time and will shorten the thawing time, as the slices can easily be separated. However, it may not stay as fresh for an extended period of freezing.