The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Starter Concern

breadnut's picture
October 20, 2006 - 4:02am -- breadnut


I've been making breads for about a year now and I've never had problems. I wanted to make a sourdough loaf, and decided to make the starter. I used equal amouts of water and flour (100g), mixed them, tossed a towel over them and left them for 48 hrs. The picture attached shows the starter after the 1st step. Imixed again today and added the same quantities of flour and water and recovered it for an additional 24 hrs (the recipe calls for that method). My concern is the color of starter, and since this is the first time I make a starter, I'm concerned with the Somewhat pinkinsh spot (if it is so), and if the overall color has pinkinsh streaks. For those with some experience in Sourdough, is the starter ok from the colors you see, or should I toss it and start again????? Thanx


jillhodges's picture
Submitted by jillhodges on

I don't know.  It should start to smell alcoholish and get frothy (yours looks frothy).  But my last one molded, which was very disappointing.  I still don't quite know why.


breadnut's picture
Submitted by breadnut on

Actually it does smell alcoholic (somewhat pungent), and it is frothy. it's just that spot towards the lower right (easy to see) that concerns me, and if you guys can see overall pinkish streaks in there. Thanks again

pmccool's picture
Submitted by pmccool on


I'd be concerned, too.  Pink is a color you don't want to see in your starter because it usually indicates the presence of an unwelcome bacteria.  Granted, most of the activity in the first few days of a starter's life is driven by bacteria, not yeast. 


You could try continuing to feed it in the hope that the beneficial organisms will crowd out the unwanted ones.  If it starts to smell spoiled, more than fermented, then dump it.  If it the odor stays good, then you have to ask yourself, a la Dirty Harry, "Do I feel lucky?"


It's probably easier and safer to just make a new starter.  I would recommend following Sourdolady's procedure, here:  A number of people on this site, including me, have found it to work very well.


Best of luck with your sourdough.  At this point, you aren't out much more than a few pennies worth of flour, a few minutes of time and a bit of aggravation.  Once you get your starter going, you'll be happy you stayed with it.