This process takes at least five days to active your dried sourdough starter before if can be used as an active leavener in a recipe.
1 packet (5 grams) dehydrated sourdough starter
In a small wide-mouth jar, combine dried starter powder with 1 tablespoon of water. Let hydrate for 30 minutes. Add 1/2 tablespoon of flour. Stir to combine. Cover with a loose lid, or use a cloth secured with a rubber band. Ferment in a warm spot for about 24 hours.
In the morning, add 3 tbsp of flour and 3 tbsp of water. Stir to combine. Cover with cloth & ferment in a warm spot for 8-12 hours.
That evening, discard all but 1 tbsp of starter, and repeat feeding regimen of 3 tbsp of flour and 3 tbsp of water.
DAY THREE - FIVE
In the morning, once again discard all but 1 tbsp of starter, and repeat feeding regimen of 3 tbsp of flour and 3 tbsp of water. Ferment for about 12 hours. Repeat process approximately every 12 hours for the next few days.
Track your sourdough starters activity throughout the day. Place a rubber band around your jar to note it's volume when you first feed it. After about 6-8 hours it should look plump & bubbly, approximately doubling in volume. Take a whiff! It should smell pleasantly sour & yeasty. About 12 hours after feeding, it will appear less bubbly and fall back to it's original volume. This means it's spent all it's fuel (food) and is hungry again!
Once your starter is showing these signs of healthy activity, your starter is activated! See below on how to maintain your starter long term, and how to use it in a recipe.
If your starter is not yet showing these signs of healthy activity, continue feeding 2x per day.
MAINTAINING YOUR ACTIVE STARTER
The aggressive 2x per day feeding is helpful in activating your dried starter. Have no fear, this is not the standard feeding regimen!
Continue to feed your starter this same ratio (saving 1 tablespoon of starter and feeding 3 tablespoons of flour and water) but reduce your feedings to every 24 hours when storing at room temperature - OR - feed once per week when storing in the fridge (where the cold temperatures slow down fermentation).
If you neglect your starter in the fridge for longer than a week, it can still be revived! But will require 2x daily feedings at room temperature to come back into balance.
USING YOUR STARTER IN A RECIPE
If you keep your starter out at room temperature, it is ready to use in a recipe about 6-8 hours after feeding (when it's nearly doubled in size). If you store your starter in the fridge, the *day before* you want to use the starter in a recipe, remove it from the fridge and feed it every 8-12 hours. This rejuvenates the culture from it’s cold slumber, and gets it healthy and active for leavening.
If desired, bulk up your starter by doubling or tripling the recipe ingredients for use in pancakes, english muffins, naan bread, focaccia and more! You can honor the basic ratio of 1 part starter, 3 parts flour and 3 parts water. For example: if you want 1 cup of active starter to use in a recipe, save 1/4 cup starter, and feed 3/4 cup flour and 3/4 cup water. Always save at least a tablespoon of starter for your next feeding.