The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sick starter on the mend, & thanks TFL

I676's picture

Sick starter on the mend, & thanks TFL

1. Hello! Never posted here before, but I've been an avid reader of TFL (and Twitter follower) for a few weeks now, and the community's insights have been an invaluable help in getting started in sourdough baking. So thank you all.

2. I wanted to post about my starter, which I started using Debra Wink's pineapple solution (so well written and interesting to read...not to mention that it worked like a charm).  

HOWEVER...After a few weeks of room temp maintenance, it developed a horrifying rotten egg smell, which I've seen discussed elsewhere on TFL. (e.g.: ). I did notice that the smell was really in the gas, and not the starter itself. Also, the yeast activity seemed to drop off during the ordeal--that is, it was rather sluggish to double.

Rather than toss it and start over, which seems to be the approach recommended by many out on the Internet the moment a starter does anything remotely unexpected, I stuck with it, based on some of the advice in the thread linked above.

After about a week of refreshing the putrid thing, it no longer smells like death.  Really, it appears to have returned to normal--it has the pleasant smell of fermenting flour that I've grown accustomed to.  So now I'm working on a loaf with the starter to see how it goes.

Before the rotten egg affair, the starter produced a few delicious loaves, some sour, some not--depending on process--but all a nice change from instant yeast. I baked one loaf with the starter during its stinky phase, and it had a dark, morbid, bitter aftertaste. (Surprise, surprise.) Unfortunately, it had to go in the trash.

Hopefully we're past that now. Will update. But just wanted to post my experience to date, and thank the TFL community for providing such an amazing wealth of helpful, practical information. 



isand66's picture

Once you get your starter going, if you are not using it every day, you should keep it in your refrigerator.  That will prevent it from going down the same path you experiences before.

I676's picture

Thanks. Very much looking forward to refrigerating it and feeding it once a week instead day twice a day. Since it's fairly new, I was giving it a few weeks at room temp to settle in. Now that things are going smoothly, I'll probably commit it to the fridge soon.

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Thank you for the kind words, 1676

Sorry you had trouble, but glad you got it back on track.

Welcome to TFL,   -dw

I676's picture

Hey Debra, I've gotten quite a crash course in sourdough just reading back in various sourdough discussions here, and I've particularly appreciated some of your posts--so doubly thanks, and it's a thrill to hear from you!