The Fresh Loaf

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Define pink...Starter Coloration

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Jonathan.D.Waits's picture
Jonathan.D.Waits

Define pink...Starter Coloration

So I have been looking at some trouble shooting things, and folks seem to say that pink is bad. I have a starter I have been working on for about a week now using only rye flour. It has a vinegary smell, almost like baked beans. before I add flour and water to it, the top has a greyish tint. when I stir it, everything underneath has a pinkish tint to it, but its only pink in relation to that top layer, just by itself I would say its very light brown or almost sandy colored. Is it bad?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Anywhere from tan to grey sounds about right.  It will darken a little bit as it ferments and ages.  When it has a beer smell take 15g and add 100g water and 100g rye flour, mix well and pack it into a marked beaker and note the level.  Time it and watch it. Do not stir and see how high it rises.  It will eventually deflate and fall down.  Use part of it, discard, and reduce the size to maintain it with regular feeding.

phaz's picture
phaz

shortly after I started mixing some rye into my starter. I got nervous as I started to see what I thought was a pinkish cast to the starter. it was just the rye. I'd be more concerned with the grey stuff at the top. grey can be mold, but more likely to be dead yeast cells, which means lack of food. follow minis instruction and it should be healthy in no time!

holds99's picture
holds99

If your starter hasn't been refreshed for a while, like a month or longer, and has developed a pink color it may be the result of cross contamination from cheese or some other source in your fridge.  I keep a tag on top of the starter container indicating the date it was last refreshed.  I recently had a starter that I had forgotten to refresh for about a month.  It had developed a light crust containing orange spots, which I assume was caused by cross contamination.  It's a good practice to periodically remove your starter from the container in which you keep and feed it and thoroughly wash, rinse and dry the container.  Then replace the starter.  Anyway, I threw out the discolored starter and thoroughly cleaned the container with soap and water.  Fortunately, I had a frozen backup starter which I used to make new seed starter..  

Jonathan.D.Waits's picture
Jonathan.D.Waits

So what about the vinegary smell. It is day 8 and its still smells vinegary, not like bread. Its very bubly, so something is going on with it.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

you tried the 15g starter to 100g flour?   What did it do and how long did it take to rise the first time?

Do you know the other name for vinegar?  link

Too much acetic acid and not enough yeasts.  But it should correct itself if you give it time.  It must go thru these phases.  Reduce (to keep the amount small) and feed only flour to thicken to a soft dough for the next observation. 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Jonathon,

The colouration indicates your culture is becoming highly acidic.   Mini is "on the money", as ever.   When I worked commercially for a bakery which made literally thousands of 100% rye breads every week, I noted this effect on the sourdough we used.   It was a liquid culture, fedrmented for about 18 hours before we used it, so it was fully-fermented.   By the time we came to use it, that pinkish hue was sometimes evident.

In your case, I don't think you are feeding it enough, and the acid is so strong it is stopping the yeasts from working properly

Best wishes

Andy