The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Smelly starter - is it dead?

  • Pin It
wannabbaker's picture
wannabbaker

Smelly starter - is it dead?

I keep my sourdough starter in a sealed container in the fridge and bring it out a couple of days before using it. I opened the lid of the container and was met by a sharp almost glue-like smell. Oh no is my starter dead?
Or is it possible that by keeping the starter in a sealed container no air can get in or out, so is the smell the gases that have been trapped in the container (is it CO2 that sourdough bacteria give out?) and hopefully the starter can be revived.

Any thoughts
Wannabbaker :) 

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Just throw out all but 2 tbsp., and feed it for a few days, keeping it at room temp. Should be as good as new. 

It is difficult to kill a well established starter.

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

It's hungry.  The smell is the same smell people get on their breath when they are ketonic during a starvation diet.  Feed it up and all will be well.

Carbon dioxide smells like the bite in your nostrils when you hold a glass of soda water up to your nose (or a chunk of dry ice, but not many people get to sniff dry ice).  It's more a feel than an odor.

wannabbaker's picture
wannabbaker

Hi MangoChutney

Thanks for your explanation. I did keep it out on the bench and fed it more regularly and sure enough - all is now well.
Wannabbaker :)