The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Soap in Starter

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frumgirl1's picture
frumgirl1

Soap in Starter

I cleaned the bowl I keep my rye sourdough starter in. I put my starter back into the container. Let it rise as bit and now I see bubbles that look like soap bubbles. I have never encountered this before and I can only imagine I did not clean all of the soup residue out of the container before I replaced the starter. Say it ain't so. Is there a way to fix this? Do I need to throw it out and begin anew?

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

tell you. Tensioactives are not exactly yeasts' best friends, but not necessarily you killed your starter's microflora.

dsadowsk's picture
dsadowsk

trying to be helpful thought my starter was baba ghanoush and added more baba to it. I took the least contaminated part, did several 12-hour feedings, and it ended up fine. You might as well try that, you have little to lose. If there wasn't too much soap I imagine your microscopic critters will recover.

frumgirl1's picture
frumgirl1

That sounds awful! I started laughing when I read your comment but I wouldn't be if it had happened to me!

I scooped out the center part that looked like it didn't have soap bubbles. We'll see what happens...

dsadowsk's picture
dsadowsk

Now it's just a funny story and a tribute to the resiliency of levains.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

:)

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

I agree with dsadowsk that several feedings should clear the soap out just fine, if there is soap in it at all.  It is not uncommon to see bubbles generated after several hours, especially if you are using a healthy 100-125% hydration starter. 

For the future, if you are worried about soap, rinse your glassware with a warm baking soda solution and rinse it out.  The baking soda will neutralize any soap remaining in the container.  And you are correct that soap is no friend of a starters yeasts and LBs, though it is unlikely you killed them all.

-Brad

frumgirl1's picture
frumgirl1

but I ended up ditching it. I started feeding it as usual and did that twice a day for several days but I kept seeing the soap bubbles. They were really aggressive! I just didn't want to deal with it. They were also *definitely* soap bubbles and not just normal bubbling you see with a starter. I got a new wild yeast starter going and I'm going to take that baking soda tip to heart.

chris319's picture
chris319

Sounds like you did the right thing. Good luck with your new starter!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And what if it wasn't soap but bacteria?  

Soap is usually a high pH, any acid in the starter would have neutralised it.  I am beginning to suspect an invader taking advantage of fed starter. Or maybe some anti-bac soap upset the balance between yeasts and good bacteria.  

Letting the starter peek and start to fall and not overfeeding might help in such a situation.  Hope the new starter behaves itself.  I'll cross a few fingers for you. 

I've got sour cream fermenting on the counter.  Can't seem to just find cultured sour cream here in Trail.  I brought some with me from the states (Daisy brand) and hope to elaborate it in warmed whipping cream.  So I already have some of my fingers crossed.