The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New to site - Sourdough smells like Paint Stripper

Shelley50's picture

New to site - Sourdough smells like Paint Stripper

Hi all

Have read this fabulous site for ages but just joined.

I made a lovely Sourdough 2 months ago.  Made a few loaves and they were pretty good.

My Sourdough is stiff and I feed it each day.  It never got a strange colour or odour as I have read about.

But then ....

Eeeeeek!!!  I did not feed it for 3 days as kept forgetting to buy bottled water.  I finally bought the water.

Before I fed the dough I left it out the fridge the whole day as I was busy and had to run off - about 12 hours out of fridge.  Also I noticed it had thinned out considerably.  Not as siff as usual.

Late that night I fed it but by this time the smell was so powerful it could knock someone out Im sure.  Smelt just like Paint-Stripper.

I took out more than half and made another stiff dough.  Today it looks and smells pretty good.

My question is if its safe to use since it developed  'whateva'  that  'chemical'  was ??    .... even though it smells ok now ?

Many thanks


gary.turner's picture

The yeasties are hungry. Ketones are a by-product of auto-digestion. Feed your mother two or three times and all should return to normal.



breaducation's picture

The smell you are smelling is completely normal for a sourdough that hasn't been fed in a few days. I hate to admit it but I have left my starter out on the counter for sometimes a week at a time and it smelled pretty awful and developed a thick skin on top. However, even from this state if you resume feeding it as normal it will eventually come back to being a totally usable starter.

Also, unless you have really bad water coming out of your tap then you do not need to use bottled water to feed your starter. Tap water is completely fine. I've been maintaing a starter for 2+ years that has seen nothing but tap water.  If you are worried about clorine content in your tap water then just leave a bucket of it out on the counter. This will cause the clorine to dissipate. You most likely don't need to do this though and what's coming out of your tap will work great.



Shelley50's picture

Ooooh thanks guys, I dont feel so alone in my attempts and down-falls now.

Great to get feedback and advice as I tend to pamper everything too much I guess.