The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Jezella's picture

Have I created a starter - It smells okay

January 16, 2013 - 11:11am -- Jezella

Hello all. I have a problem in that I don't know if I have created a sourdough starter or something that will kill me. But first I will say this is my second attempt. In the case of my first I discarded the whole thing as it had bad smells. I've since learnt that this is normal and this leads me on to the possible problem I have now. In the case of my first attempt, I had the bad smell and also, at another time, the smell of alcohol.

FlourChild's picture

Why do some bread books use such large starters?

January 8, 2013 - 7:36am -- FlourChild

Some books, like the recently reviewed Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast (Ken Forkish), and Nancy Silverton's Breads from the La Brea Bakery, use large starters or levains- much larger than the amount used in the main dough, so that there is a lot to throw out.  For instance, in Mr. Forkish's book, the levain builds all amount to 1,000 grams, yet the main doughs only use 200-300 grams of the levain.  That's a lot left over- even if one were to keep some to use for the seed of the next feeding cycle, that would only account for another 100g.  

Juergen's picture

Bringing a starter back to life

January 6, 2013 - 10:58am -- Juergen

Over the last months I have neglected my sourdough starter and I only baked yeasted breads. Now I want to start baking with a starter again when I took my old starter out of the fridge today, it smelled really funky, much like acetone, so I dumped it. 

I am left with two options now:

1. starting from scratch again knowing that this will take me at least two weeks or so before I can bake with it


2. using some of my old starter that I have kept in my freezer in dry form in a freezer bag dated march 18, 2012.

Jezella's picture

Killing the Baby

January 5, 2013 - 5:06am -- Jezella

I must say that I'm absolutely fascinated by this whole bread subject and being new to the subject, have so many questions. Whilst reading here about starters that have been around, sometimes for many years, how do these remain alive. I tried one a short time ago and gave up as I felt I was trying to run before I could walk or in my case, walk before crawl.

mikemike's picture

Going "backwards" -- Using yeast when recipe calls for starter

December 31, 2012 - 12:51am -- mikemike

Hi everyone -- I'm new to the site and fairly new to baking breads.

Because of my current situation, I'm not able to begin a wild yeast starter at the moment (but I will sometime soon) so I have a question: What should I do differently if I'm using active dry yeast in a recipe that calls for the use of a wild starter? 

teaman4077's picture

Starter Experiments: Kombucha

December 14, 2012 - 3:20pm -- teaman4077

Hi all,

I recently created my first Sourdough starter.  I've been fermenting various things for a while and tackled sourdough late November.  I started two starters.  One using a more traditional method on another site, and another in which I used active kombucha (a fermented tea that uses a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, like sourdough) for the initial hydration of the white flour, and afterwards used water.

kranieri's picture

In need of a new starter - Seattle, WA

December 13, 2012 - 12:09am -- kranieri

Hi - 

I just made the move to seattle and had to leave my starter behind. I now am in search of a new starter and would prefer not to build one up from scratch again so if there are any seattle people out there who have a little starter they are willing to part with i would be so grateful. 




edwardf's picture

Sourdough, and problems in the oven

December 6, 2012 - 6:26am -- edwardf

So my sourdough has not been behaving lately and I was wondering if someone could troubleshoot for me. I am following this recipe which previously given me good results. I will post some shots of the crumb and recent bakes so see what you guys think. 

cantrelephant's picture

Increasing starter strength

November 25, 2012 - 4:09pm -- cantrelephant

I have a 2 week old starter that is doubling in just under 24 hours.

I have been using a 2:3:5 ratio so it is relatively stiff.

Tastes sour, smells right.

Lots of bubbles.

I have been using AP flour - however I switched to a cheaper lower grade flour about 4 days ago...this is when I noticed things started to slow a little. Perhaps this flour is lower in protein? could this be it? Ambient temperatures have been consistent and around 25C

I really want to get this up to full strength before I even consider baking my first loaf.


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