The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


richawatt's picture


My starter was doing fine.  I have had it for over a month now, but all of a just the other day it took on a very bad smell.  Smells rotten, I can still smell some alochol in it, but just rotten.  I don't know if I should ride it out, or just start over.  Also, the other day when I went to feed it, there was a black tint in the hooch in some spots.  it is dead?? poor was just a baby.

copyu's picture

Underfeeding is one of the major ones.

The blackness could be a mold growing in your starter. I wouldn't throw it all away, though. Just keep a Tablespoon or two of the healthiest or cleanest bit from the bottom of your starter jar and put it into a clean, or sterilized jar. Throw the rest away.

Feeding your reserved bit generously will have you back in business in a day or two. Starters rarely die, but they do get sick and hungry. Mine have been very sick, but always recovered with a little TLC.


drdobg's picture

A few months ago, I thought I had killed my starter of 5 years- mainly because my breadbaking had dropped off some after the last of the kids had moved out.  Try as I might, I couldn't revive it through simple refreshment.  Just about as I was going to give up I read about the starter using pineapple juice on TFL by sourdolady (sp?)  I had already built a new pineapple starter and it smelled so wonderful, I thought it might revive my old friend and, indeed, it did. I did a refreshment using the pineapple juice, and WHAM!  My old starter was like Popeye after a new can of spinach!    You can read her blog on this site- she has loads of good advice.

LindyD's picture

While sourdough lady has always offered great advice here, Debra Wink wrote the treatise on pineapple juice.