The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My sick starter

Mebake's picture

My sick starter

Following 4 sourdough baking disasters in a row, a planned not to throw the dough this time. I sprinkled 1tsp of yeast and baked it 2 1/2 hours later.

The crumb shot above is from a slice at one side of the loaf, while the the crumb below is from the other side.

And the culprit: My starter. The size of the bubbles show a lacto-bacterial fermentation, with very little yeast activity. I have never seen such fermentation cells since i started using sourdough.

I am tending my starter now, feeding it every 12 hours to revive my yeasts.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I would go with rises and falls and try to get them closer together.  See if you can squeeze a third feed between when you first get up and before you go to bed; that is; if it rises and falls before feeding.  One or two days of 3 feedings should help.  Might want to reduce the amounts unless using the discards.

Mebake's picture

Thanks, Mini. I will do that! I have to find a cozy warm place too to encourage the yeasts.


Daisy_A's picture

Hi Khalid,

Please take heart. I know I have said before that a few months after being created my starter became so proteolytic that one dough made with it flowed off the stone! 

it is fine and strong now. I tried a number of ways of strengthening it but only one main approach worked. I don't know the microbiology of it but it involved doing things similar to those you and mini are suggesting.

I think you feed a whole wheat and white flour mix already? I found a 1:1.5:2 feeding system worked best. I put it in the warmest place I could but found that I needed to feed 2 if not 3 times a day for a couple of weeks before the starter really regained vitality.

You've baked such great breads with this starter. I do hope it will come good again!

Very best wishes, Daisy_A

ehanner's picture


What are you feeding your starter?



jackie9999's picture

I recently had to make another starter from scratch ..hopefully you'll be able to revive yours. When I was going through the process of starting again I thought to myself 'this time I will save some dried'....I haven't yet but your post has served as a reminder to get that done!

Mebake's picture

Thanks for the comfort, Daisy! I shall persevere, now that i figured out how sourdough is supposed to be fed. Wild Yeasts are unlike commercial yeasts survive in acidic conditions. I was not helping them by refrigerating and then over feeding, which gave the Lactobacilli a head start, and been thriving ever since.

Eric, Iam feeding it 50% Wholewheat , 50% AP.

Jackie, you do that as soon as you can, it always helps.