The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Starter with Leuconostoc?

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Squid's picture
Squid

Starter with Leuconostoc?

This was discussed in another thread but the topic seems to have died. I have 4 starters and all of them have liquid that falls to the bottom of the jar in the fridge. Eventually, after a week in the fridge, the liquid comes to the top. The starter smells perfectly fine and makes really good bread. I'm really confused. I thought if it had leuconostoc, it would smell really bad? It was implied that my bread could potentially kill someone. I'm nervous to bake now.

I just found this quote from jm_chang that mentions the leuconostoc would be killed off from the baking process so maybe it's not an issue? I'll try his method to get rid of the bacteria, but I'm still confused whether it really is bacteria if it's performing well and smells good.  

Leuconostoc is easily got rid of. All you have to do is feed a part starter to six parts flour and enough water preferably by weight twice a day. The leuconostoc will go quite naturally when the starter is healthy. The starter isn't ready to bake with anyway til it's healthy so you shouldn't be in a position or worry about eating. Don't ever eat starter by the way. Why would you want to. I know some idiot made a tv show and tasted the starter all the way through but there's some really nasty stuff been found in new raw starters. Don't Do It. Cooked bread will have killed off anything no good to eat anyway so if your  bread has risen well enough to make good bread don't worry about it. 

 

Help?

TRK's picture
TRK

Squid,

 

I haven't been around much, so I didn't reply to the other thread. I have seen what you are talking about and think it is nothing to worry about. After I feed my starter it grows and is nice and homogeneous. Sometimes when I put it in the fridge it will develop a layer of hooch on the bottom of the jar which will later move to the top. I think this is a result of gluten development in the starter trapping the lighter hooch at the bottom of the jar. As that gluten breaks down and weakens, the hooch moves to the top where density wants it to be. If you have no off flavors or odors and your bread is rising well, I wouldn't worry about it.

Squid's picture
Squid

TRK, thank you for your advise. It's good to know that someone else experiences this.

Squid's picture
Squid

Ummm, SDG, I wasn't being arrogant. Excuse me? How do you determine that I'm arrogant and giving advice when I clearly stated that I was confused and finished with an "I don't know" with a shrug? This is what I posted:

This whole "hooch at the bottom" issue confuses me. I get hooch in the bottom of my container in the fridge all the time and I've been baking bread weekly (or more) with my starter since Feb. It first goes to the top, then falls to the bottom. It smells fine, bakes wonderfully and no one has died. LOL

I dunno. *shrug*

The part about dying was a nervous joke. Jeesh! Someone's got an attitude!

TRK's picture
TRK

On another note-I don't think that there is anything in sourdough cultures that can make you very sick. I know they say nothing can grow in beer that will make you sick (just taste awful). Especially after you bake it off, I would be pretty surprised if a starter that didn't taste horrible could cause much in the way of real problems.

 

But then I am not a doctor, nor a pathogenic microbiologist, so what do I know?

Squid's picture
Squid

Thanks, TRK.