The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Frothy white at bottom of starter

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tkarno's picture
tkarno

Frothy white at bottom of starter

I recently received a whole wheat starter from a friend and have been searching everywhere for help on maintaining it.  I last fed it Monday evening, used part of it to bake a decent whole wheat bread on Tuesday leaving the rest out, and just popped it in the fridge today (Wednesday).  What I'm worried about is after the bubbling died down a little it split into two layers.  The top layer is the normal wheat color w/ a lot of bubbles.  At the bottom however is a frothy white mixture the texture of whipped cream and the entire thing reeks of alcohol.  Is the white mixture something that should be there or is it possibly something that could make my family sick?  I'm extremely new at this so for all I know it could be yeast.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

What you are seeing is perfectly normal. The reason your starter has split into two layers is because is has consumed all the nutrients in the flour and needs fed again. The alcohol smell is normal also. It is a product of fermentation. The liquid on top that forms after fermentation IS alcohol (referred to as "hooch"). Just stir the liquid back in and then dump out all but a few spoonfuls of the starter before feeding again. After it is fed, leave it out of the fridge for an hour or so or until it is bubbling. Then pop it into the fridge until you want to use it again, at which time you will need to feed again before using it for baking. It will keep better and longer in the fridge if you keep it on the thicker side.

tkarno's picture
tkarno

Thanks for putting my mind at ease!