The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Eggs in a disturbing way

nowhereman's picture

Eggs in a disturbing way

I made a starter the other day, 1:1 ww/spelt to warm water, next morning checked to find it smelling of eggs, but really really powerfully of eggs, like a stink bomb, really noxious - is this correct?



cranbo's picture

Yes, my whole wheat/rye smelled noxious this way for a few days. This was then replaced by "stinky cheese", a lot like blue or parmesan cheese. 

After 10-14 days of regular feeding, these odors should calm down and virtually disappear. 

nicodvb's picture

I made many starters with any kind of flour you can imagine, but never once I smelled something resembling even remotely eggs. There's a reason why some acid (like pineapple juice) is called for in starters' recipes.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss


I remember the experience I had with 100% spelt starter when I began baking with sourdough - It smelt awful and I threw it out and never tried it since.(Maybe it would have been OK, now I would hold my nose and wait...)

The only thing that smelt worse was a 100% rice starter which I tried according to Whitley's book (for gluten-free naturally leavened bread). Knowing what toxins can be produced on rice I left that one allone as well.

nicodvb's picture

smells even worse, it's absolutely AWFUL!

Ford's picture

I have noticed an off-aroma  when I started a culture with whole-wheat flour and water alone.  Debra Wink  discovered this was due to a strain of bacteria called leuconostoc that seems to be more prevalent in flour now than it was formerly.  This bacterium is self-destructive as it produces acid that inhibits its growth.  Apparently, the bacteria are not harmful.  Four remedies are readily available: 1/ keep feeding the culture (whisking to aerate it); 2/ add a slight amount of acid (a pinch of citric acid, or a pinch of ascorbic acid); 3/ start with canned pineapple juice  (acid enough to inhibit the growth of these bacteria) instead of water; or 4/ start with rye flour and later switch to wheat flour.

I prefer the pineapple juice solution #3 above, also from Debra Wink.  Check out the "Search" box in the upper left corner of this page.