The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Old starter dark....

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susies1955's picture
susies1955

Old starter dark....

I left my starter in the fridge without any feedings at all "DUH" for over a year and a half.

It has an inch or more hooch that is very dark. I think it smells sour/vinegary and my husband says it smells like old beer.

Should I dump it out and start over, drain off the hooch and feed, or just stir and feed? Thanks for the help.

Here are some photos:

Susie

 

clazar123's picture
clazar123

If it doesn't have mold on it or smell awful, I would pour off the hootch,carefully scrape the surface and try to get a spoonful from the bottom. If there are any yeasty-beasties, that is where they would have hunkered down. Mix the spoonful with a few tablespoons of flour and water and let it sit. If you see activity (bubbles), then feed it again-stir it several times daily-they are invalids,after all, you want to bring the food to them. By day 2-3 you should know if there is any life.

 The idea is to increase their population before you start the discard/replenishment step. When you know there is increasing activity, start an aggressive 1/2 discard and feeding. They may come back. At any time it becomes cheesy smelling or moldy-you are culturing undesirables.Find a final resting place (mulch pile?)

susies1955's picture
susies1955

Thanks very much for your help. I will do as you suggest and see how it goes.

:) Susie

Ford's picture
Ford

I would just stir the old starter with the hooch (it is flavorful).  Feed a quarter cup of the mixture with equal weights of AP unbleached flour and water.  Do this on a daily basis until you get activity.  If the old yeast and lactobacteria do not revive, then you will probably start a new culture.

Ford

susies1955's picture
susies1955

Too late. I already got rid of it. What was left was nice and sour smelling. :)

Thanks for the advice though. If it ever happens again, I'll try it your way. 

Susie