The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

odd surface on sourdough

alayoyo's picture

odd surface on sourdough

Hi. I had a wierd bread I have been making, and wondering if something is dangerous.


I have been making a sourdough flatbread.


I mix oatbran and buckwheat in a 3:1 proportion. A little bit of salt and molasses. Enough water to make a thick batter. I let it ferment until quite funky. Bake on a griddle, a bit thinner than a pancake. I eat with a schmear of pesto. I like it because it is fast, has a strong taste, and healthy. I had been making english muffins before and this is much easier.

I keep it on the counter in a bowl with plate on top. Refrigerate if i don't eat any for a few days. A few days fermentation and some hooch forms on the surface. I normally stir it back in. I have noticed it will sometimes develope a matte look to the layer on top, especially if it is cool but not cold. Tends to smell a bit different when this happens. (Twice i've also let it go too long and had white mold form. I use a bit from the bottom to restart it.) I am not sure if this is the begining of mold, or something else. I have thought of two options: starchy liquid that dries out enough to form a skin, or i have fermented enough unusual short-chain fatty acids that are causing this.

G-man's picture

This is my personal understanding of it, I am no mold expert so take it for what you will. There are a lot of different molds that people can come into contact with on food. They range from toxic to indigestible to simply nasty-tasting and otherwise unharmful. There's no real way to tell from the color alone what type of mold you have. That said, you're extremely unlikely to consume enough toxic mold from food that it will kill you before you notice something is wrong. Most mold is either harmless or simply indigestible. Either way it tastes terrible and will probably make you sick before you get it down.


The matte surface is likely the starter drying out as you say, which probably goes toward explaining the mold too. Dried starter wouldn't have the conditions necessary to keep the mold from growing.


Again, as a disclaimer, I'm not microbiologist, mycologist or toxicologist. This is what I understand to be true from reading lots of information as an amateur food enthusiast.