The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sick Starter

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andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

Sick Starter

Hi. I haven't made bread for a few weeks - I've done this often before and the starter just comes to life the moment I feed it.


 


This time my starters (I always keep 2, in case of problems!)  have gone rather hard, with patches of mould on top. I think it is due to having kept some blue cheese in the fridge - BIG mistake.


 


I carefully scraped away the top to get to the "good" starter underneath and took a small amount, fed it as usual - and overnight, very little has happened. I am going to take a small amount of this starter and feed it with rye flour - will this be enough to bring it back to health again, or has my starter gone for ever???

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

Update!


 


The sicker of the 2 starters I have mainly thrown, keeping back a tiny bit which I have fed with water, a small amount of rye and some bread flour. I hold out little hope for this one!


 


The slightly more hopeful one, which at least by this morning smelled slightly more hopeful, I have divided into three. One I have fed with water and white bread flour as I usually do. One fed with water and a mix of rye and white bread flour. The last has been fed with water and rye.


 


So, I have four starters in my sick bay - I do hope at least one revives and manages to make a loaf by Saturday!

CanuckJim's picture
CanuckJim

Andrew,


Storing blue cheese in the fridge nearby your starter may or may not have been the culprit.  If the starter was tightly covered, no cheese mold should have intruded.  In my experience with students, the cause of mold is almost universally heat.  Most fridge thermometers are junk.  Your fridge should be at a constant 39-40 F for a healthy starter (or successful retardation for that matter).  Do yourself a favor and invest in a good thermometer (about $25 for the industrial sort).  Beyond that, I'd suggest you keep up the same feeding regimen you've always used.  Just keep it up; twice a day, small amount, discard half, for about three days.  That usually does it.


CJ

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

Wow! Four feeds, a little starter thrown out each time so they have grown a bit - and this morning, I have 4 very vigorous and nice smelling starters!


 


Now I have to find a fool proof way of maintaining them - do they freeze? How do I dry them?


 


Ideally I'd like to have two in the fridge, sone dried and if starter freezes, some frozen. I don't want to get so near to losing an old friend again!