The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Mold grew when we tried fermenting organic grapes for starter. Keep or toss?

BaconBread's picture

Mold grew when we tried fermenting organic grapes for starter. Keep or toss?

We decided to make our own starter from scratch and purchased organic grapes for this purpose.  2 days later, we have some fermentation going on... and mold too.  What did we do wrong?  Keep or toss?  I still have some fruit left over so I can try again.  We had it in a glass bowl loosely covered with plastic wrap on the counter.

I'm also going digging in this site.  I'm sure there are wonderful How-To articles.  I just thought I'd ask here.  I did see a discussion on this forum about mold growing on a starter, but we haven't gotten that far yet.  We need to know if we should proceed making the starter with the fermenting liquid that we have.  Thanks!

Wheatoholic's picture

Hi. Forget the grapes and start again. The yeast on grapes is different from the type you need for a sourdough starter. Just use an organic whole grain flour (rye is particularly good) as it will come with the natural wild yeast you need already on the husk. Just add water and maintain at warm room temperature (say 25 - 30 C) for a few days, refreshing as you go,  and it'll turn out fine.

There is all sorts of advice out there about adding honey, rhubarb etc. Ignore it. All you need is good organic wholegrain flour, water, a little warmth and time. 

PetraR's picture

I made my wheat starter with Grapes.

All I needed was 250g of flour in which I tossed 6 sliced green grapes and 250g tepid Water.

You do not ferment the Grapes before you put them in the Starter, you put the in fresh, just sliced and that is all.

hanseata's picture

A starter can look quite ugly, with a dark skin, and puddle on top. It also can smell cheesy, and is still okay. But when it gets moldy and grows a fur I would trash it.

I made my starter a few times from the scratch, when I accidentally used it all, and never had any problems using just flour and water. This is my little sourdough tutorial:

Once a home made jam started fermenting, and I fed it like a levain and baked with it:

Happy baking,



BaconBread's picture

We are trying more than one of these suggestions!  Please accept our thanks!!!  I am especially interested in the pineapple juice starter.

I have another question.  Hubs is making a starter that is 2 tbsp flour to 2 tbsp water.    Is it supposed to be a ball?  I was imagining a thick gloopy paste, not a ball.  But we have a ball.