The Fresh Loaf

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Please help - leaven has changed - need advice

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mr_chips's picture

Please help - leaven has changed - need advice

I was wondering what people think of this.  I've been using this leaven for about a month now.  It was looking fine and then one night I left it out without adding flour and water and the next day it developed an odd looking crust on top.  It almost looks like mold but I'm just not sure - i'm relatively new to this.  It smells very strong now too, like a chemical, almost like paint thinner.  I'm thinking it's gone bad.  Is this common?  I had it in the fridge for about a week and then reactivated it and it seemed fine but then just all o a sudden turned on me.  It's whole wheat and rye flour BTW.  Any tips on keeping a leaven going?  


Thanks.  Here's a picture.  

Lulu's picture

Hi Mr Chips,

It looks to me as though you have mold growing on it, it certainly shouldn't smell


I'm sure you'll get some more replies soon..

I was given some advice which was when you have a starter, freeze a small portion and keep in the freezer to re-activate in time of need.


SourdoLady's picture

Was the lid left off overnight also? It looks crusty and dried out. Whatever the case may be, I would suggest that you scrape off the icky layer and discard it. Then take a clean spoon and scrape off another layer until you expose a part of the starter that still looks good. Take a good spoonful of that good part and use it to begin a new start. Stir into it water and flour at your preferred ratios. Stir it frequently until you see good activity and then you should have your starter back in good health after a couple of more feedings.

ryeaskrye's picture

...and do so in a different jar, preferably a sterilized one.