The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New to Sourdough--some questions about my first try

MisterBremer's picture

New to Sourdough--some questions about my first try

New member here!  This seems like a helpful community so I thought I would post some questions.


I have been trying the Tartine Sourdough recipe.  I paged through the book and thought it might be too difficult, but then I saw this post also with a link to Martha Stewart's site, and it looked easy enough.


The first night that I mixed it up it rose and fell.  I discarded 3/4 and added flour and water.  After that, I don't think I've had it rise and fall.  I get this:

Here are my questions.  Is it supposed to separate like that?  If so, when I discard it, am I supposed to stir it up first and discard?  I get the "stinky cheese" smell from it, but now I'm not getting any bubbling, nor a rise or fall. 


Do I need to start over?  What should I do to make sure I succeed?  It has been humid here and a few hot days, though we usually have the air conditioner on--how much will that make a difference?


Thanks for any help and tips you can offer!

Ford's picture

This is a common event.  The liquid separates when the starter is not active.  The odor you smelled is probably from a due to a strain of bacteria called leuconostoc that seems to be more prevalent in flour now than it was formerly.  It is not harmful and will disappear after a continued feeding and when the starter becomes acidic.  The "pineapple juice solution" prevents this from happening and I totally recommend this as a method of making a fresh starter.  See:

Baring starting over with the "pineapple solution,"  just continue feeding and stirring and eventually (say 2 weeks) you will have a starter that, though not mature, will raise your bread.


MisterBremer's picture

Just wanted to let you know that your advice paid off.  Thanks for the reply.  My loaf turned out great (and delicious). 

I posted some photos at my blog: