The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

It smells sour ...

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

It smells sour ...

I am on Day 6 of my starter and it smells sour, but I am getting very few, if any, bubbles.  The starter is made with SourdoLady's recipe. 

Should I add the vinegar to try and kick the yeasties in the hiney, or just wait and see if they get going with out any help?

TIA!!

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I'd give it a few more days, myself, GothicGirl. If it smells sour, that probably means it's already acidic, so adding vinegar probably wouldn't do much.

 

Just keep feeding it, and, if you're able, stirr it a couple of times a day. The yeasts don't need oxygen to reproduce, but they really, really like it. So you might be able to give them a kick in the behind that way.

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

If it smells sour, that probably means it's already acidic, so adding vinegar probably wouldn't do much.

Thanks!  I was not sure if it would help considering how nice and sour it smells. I have not worked much with sour starter before, and this is the first I have made with out using part of an established starter, so I am sort of learning as I go and thought I would ask.

sewwhatsports's picture
sewwhatsports

My starters both have an alcoholic smell that is sour.  My pain au levain is sour when I use the firm starter.  I am just about ready to put my first no knead bread into the oven. I used my liquid starter converted to rye as the leavening agent and that too has a slightly boozy smell.  I have both starters refreshing for some major baking tomorrow.  Gonna do builds for pain au levain, sourdough rye and pane siliciano tonight.  Boy is my house going to smell wonderful tonight. 

Rena in Delaware

Srishti's picture
Srishti

Today is the 7th day of my starter.... It has been smelling really sour from the beginning, but no bubbles yet.... Yesterday I addes a tincy bit of Apple Cider vinegar as well.....

Only thing I can think of, is that it could have something to do with Tap water...

I'll have to remedy that.

Thanks

Srishti

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

If you haven't already, you'd do well to let your water stand uncovered overnight so that all the chlorine will disapate. The chlorine can have an adverse effect on starter cultures if it's strong. We have a Brita filter at home, and that takes care of it.

You shouldn't need to use bottled water, unless your tap water is particularly hard.

sadears's picture
sadears

When I first started my starter, I used old (sometime in the last four years since I moved here) AP flour.  The results I got weren't what I expected....very slow to grow.  I've since been using bread flour (new of course) and had far better results.  Don't know if it was the age of the AP or the fact that it wasn't bread flour.  The stuff I bought the other day was AP (stores around here are fickle when it comes to what they stock).  Will be interesting to see if using fresh AP will make a difference.  Hope not, but think since I have a (relatively) established starter, it shouldn't be an issue.  My oh so beginner's thought  is that to start starter, bread flour should be used.  Someone mentioned the difference, and that difference made sense to me.  But, I've forgotten what that difference is. ;-)

 

Steph

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

The very best flours to use for starting a new starter are rye or whole wheat, and the fresher the flour the better. Whole grains have the wild yeast spores on the outer layer of the grain berries. When AP or white bread flour is made, this layer is removed and so is a lot of the yeast (but not all of it). The fact that you used old flour is definitely a factor in your slow start.

 

Once your starter is established it isn't fussy about what it is fed. It feeds off the starch in the flour so even cheap AP is fine (unbleached). I occasionally like to give mine a spoonful of whole wheat or rye just for the heck of it. I don't know if it really helps it or not.

 

Someone else mentioned water--Chlorine and Chloramine are not good for the yeast. Chlorine will dissipate upon sitting but chloramine will not. I don't have a Brita filter so I don't know if it removes the chloramine type or not. You might want to find out what your water treatment plant uses. Well water is fine to use and hard water is actually better than soft water for sourdough.

Srishti's picture
Srishti

Hi all thanks for the responses above....

After I was done whining all over thefreshloaf about my starter still not "starting".... I figured it was time to go feed my baby (the starter) named OJ. I had checked OJ this morning first thing after waking up and it was pretty flat, with an occasional bubble which I think were the result of whipping air into it.

Anyway, little while ago, I went and got it in the kitchen to feed it, and lO AND BEHOLD, there were quite a few bubbles inside it (looking through the jar).... It smelled nice, really wheaty adn it didn't have that really sour (overwhelming) smell. and when I stirred it, it was really different texture..... almost like super gluteny.... stretchy with a batter like consistency. So I fed it.... :)

@sadears:

I am only using pretty freshly groung whole wheat flour.

Also yesterday I was thinking about the tap water... and so this morning I decided to use the water we fill up in  a 5 gallon water jug for the kids to drink from. We fill the jug for them as it is hard for them to reach the sink. And I figured that the Chlorine would evaporate in the jug.... after sitting a couple of days.

So............... can't wait to see how OJ looks later this afternoon :-D

Happy & Excited

sadears's picture
sadears

I feel your happiness.  Nothing like the feeling a novice gets when the starter starts to start. 

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

If you are on day 6 you are at the stage where it will soon begin to grow. A lot of people get impatient at this stage and give up. If you used good fresh whole grain flour it will grow. Give it a few more days and give it a good stir several times a day.

jm_chng's picture
jm_chng

I can't speak about chloramine but my Brita filter was a great buy. I like the taste I get with it and the sourdough likes it too. For chloramine advice do this search in Google
 

Jim

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

SourdoLady -

I am not as impatient as I thought I might be at this point!!  :)  Really I think my expectations were too high.  Creating a starter takes time and is NOT the same as getting some starter from a friend and feeding it. 

Thanks!!!

 

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

More bubbles today and I think I may know why things seemed really slow.

I did a little experiment ... I placed the starter in my microwave, that I had used to heat something in and it was warm, and let it sit overnight.  I think part of the reason I was not getting as vigirous results in the last few days is because my kitchen has been pretty cold.  My husband does not turn on the heat unless the house is 58F so maybe the chill was keeping things from really getting going.  (Or, it was just this starters time to get more active.  Either way, I feel better about it than I did.)

Ol' Yeasty is back in the microwave today hopefully eating his breakfast and getting nice and strong!

 

 

Srishti's picture
Srishti

Have fun

Srishti

gothicgirl's picture
gothicgirl

Well, I ended up adding the cider vinegar and that did the trick.

For the last two days the starter had been quite active and I think I am ready to make bread!

Just wanted to let you all know.  It took way longer than I expected, but my long wait has been rewarded!

Thanks!!

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

Congratulations, Gothicgirl! Remember that the dough will also take longer to rise than commercial yeast does--often many hours. Be patient and don't rush it. Good luck with your first bread!

jm_chng's picture
jm_chng

Cool good going. : -)

Jim