The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

help! I think I'm unbalanced, in more ways than one (newbie)

sunnspot9's picture

help! I think I'm unbalanced, in more ways than one (newbie)

Still a newbie, had gotten the starter going and to a good place, it smelled like fruit and was rising nicely, you can see my posts on the pineapple solution part 2, but with busy shopping etc, feeding has been eratic, fruit smell turned to vinegar, and now there's some stinky (leuco?) smell, How do I get the lovely fruit smell back?

I can't find my scale, so I am measuring by volume, going for pancake consistancy. Using whole wheat,  am feeding 2-3 times per day, if I know I am leaving for several hours I use 1:2:2, If I am home 1:1:1,

I read that fruit smell is high yeast activity, and vinegar smell is high bacteria activity, and hungry starter, but if the new stink is leuco, doesn't that mean overfeeding? Or at the very least an unbalancing, so how do I get back to the fruit smell?

Today it is gloopy too, I think my starter is as erratic as I am.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

the fruity smell comes before the peaking of the starter.  

Your starter must be old enough now to be on a 12 hr feeds.  Try 1:5:5 with only 10g of starter or if your temps are low 70's°F try 20g for starter.   A starter eats thru 1:1:1 rather quickly over 75°F.  If you can't find your scales, double the volume on the flour to get close to equal weight.  It should be thicker than pancake, closer to warm smooth peanut butter in consistancy.  If you feed a little rye flour, the fruity comes through stronger.

How long is the thicker starter taking to peak?  

If you want to eye ball a 1:5:5 starter feed, drop a heaping teaspoon of starter into the center of a generous coffee cup, then add water until the starter is almost covered (like if an ant were to swim around in there she'd be able to catch her breath standing on the starter)  Then spoon in flour until its a soft dough or soft peanut butter.  Cover.