The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A Rebellious vinegary Starter

bowow0708's picture

A Rebellious vinegary Starter

hey im a bit new here, and i made my starter about 5-6 months ago. and it was the greatest starter in the world!! great flavor, incredible dormant to awake timing(less than 4 hours lag!!) i could even use it straight from the firdge to the dough and it would rise tromendously with great oven spring even though it had a room temp over night ferment after shaping.when i first made my starter it was already active 2 days after the making of the dough.


hydration- 100%

type- sourdough wild yeast

flour- whole wheat


it was the best starter i made but alas a accident occurred i left it in the open for 3 days when i was going to feed it but circumstances made me forget and it was infected by every sourdough makers nightmare "The Orange!!" and mold! i had to thorw it out goodbye my trusty starter D: but luckily i had a second one it was a levain type about 50% hydration. and i made a second starter using that but added more water to make it 100% but for some reason after a few weeks it smelled like vinegar! barely any bubbles in it a all(my old one made enough bubbles in the rise to lift the cover, Yikes!) but i didnt mind at first and so i made a couple batches with it but the all ended so flat and vinegar sour! i think my starter is overrun by aceto bactr(bactre?)! has anyone experienced this problem before? and how can i fix it? i have tried adding commercial yeast and a bit of milk in small amounts to balance things out in there, but nothing seems to work! my stiff starter is still fine very healthy, good aroma like my first starter and produces plenty of hooch. any suggestions? should i scrap my second starter and the next time i split my stiff on add water to bring up the hydration?

Ford's picture

I would take a small amount oif the stiff starter, say 1 Tablespoon, and add 1 ounce (weight) of chlorine free water and one ounce of whole wheat flour.  Late in the day add another ounce of water and another of flour.  Day 2: throw out half and add equal weight of flour and water.  Repeat that evening.  By day three you should have a viable starter of 100% hydration.  This assumes that the stiff is viable.

Don't add milk or commercial yeast.



juniperjan's picture


I had that happen to me a few years back when I had a liquid starter I was keeping.  I was also keeping a vinegar mother in the same kitchen and figured it was an invasion from the mother.  I gave up trying to have a sourdough starter for awhile and then found out about stiff starters and tried again. 

Now if I need to have a liquid starter I figure out what my flour water ratio is and add a small nugget of firm starter.  Feed it for a day or so and I'm ready to go.  I love the versatility that I've found doing this becasue I am an erratic bread baker.  And the best part of it all is I can keep my vinegar mother in the same kitchen with no problems.