The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Strange smellling starter

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EffigyOfFaith's picture
EffigyOfFaith

Strange smellling starter

Hey all,

I have a question about my starter. It has developed a very original odor; it smells like itiallian salad dressing. I don't just mean acetic acid smell, I smell oregano, pepper, even olive oil, not bad smells by any means, just not those I normally accosiate with my little starter. The only things I've put in it are flour, 2 white: 1 whole wheat, and water about 60%. I had left it with out feeing by acident for a couple days, which is not to unusual, and now this odd smell. right now I'm refressing it with a less old starter then normal. Should I just throw it out?

Tess's picture
Tess

The following link has some advice on what to do with a 'sick' starter.

http://www.nyx.net/~dgreenw/sourdoughfaqs.html

Personally, I think it is always worth trying to save a starter verse starting one. Good luck.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

It probably is OK, if it's a well established starter you've had for a while. I've abused mine by not feeding in the refrigerator for 2 months. I don't have experience with leaving it for long periods of time without feeding at room temperature, but I would bet that it's OK. My starter smells very different when it's way over ripe and has lots of hooch in it and whatever else may develop in there when it's left without feeding for a long time. The fact it is not an unpleasant smell, even if different, seems very promising also.

I did not understand what you meant by "I'm refreshing it with a less old starter then normal." Could you explain more what you mean by that?

Bill

EffigyOfFaith's picture
EffigyOfFaith

"I did not understand what you meant by "I'm refreshing it with a less old starter then normal." Could you explain more what you mean by that?

Bill"

 I normally refresh 1:1:.5 starter : flour : water

I was trying refreshing more 1:3:1.5 to get it back in shape. 

 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

OK, I got what you meant. I read it the first time as "less old" starter, like newer or something, as opposed to "less" old starter, like use less of it in the refreshment.

When I'm reviving my starter, I just refresh it a couple of times at 1:2:2 at room temperature, which is kind of like what you're doing. The "sick starter" faq, has a couple of methods to revive a sick starter, although yours probably isn't sick, just needs to be fed maybe, but one of them is something like a tablespoon of old starter combined with about a cup of feeding, which might be more like 1:8:8 - something to try, if just feeding doesn't work.

Bill