The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Woes

Just Loafing's picture
Just Loafing

Sourdough Woes

Hello Amazing Bakers!


I have really been enjoying reading this blog! There are so many impressive and creative bakers here! I having been a "serious" home baker for about 6 years (that is, serious about my search for the perfect loaf!). 

I have had pretty good sucess with sourdough, have made and baked often with my own sourdough. Within the past 3 months, I have begun to have serious issues with my starter. In August, I went on vacation and during that time my started died and turned a nasty black.

I threw it out and started a new one. It too never really became a good starter it went straight black. I tried this a couple of times and finally was able to get a sourdough starter going. I baked sucessfully several times.

Just last Friday, which is generally my baking day, I baked successfully 4 loaves from this starter. However, I tried baking yesterday and disaster struck.

Every one of my loaves had no rise at all. There was no apparent activity in the starter at all and this morning even though I fed the starter last evening, left it out to grow it has turned a nasty black and smells really bad.

Have any of you had this happen? Do you have any wisdom for me on this as to what happened and how to fix it and stop it from happening again?

My sourdough starter was using the KAF recipe.


Thank you for all your council!


Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

In your kitchen. Too much of a coincidence that your starters have all gone the same way.

If I were you I'd use a totally different jar and make sure everything is perfectly clean before using.

Just Loafing's picture
Just Loafing

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll give that a try.


BGM's picture

I wonder if you are using tap water and for some reason your town/city has increased the chlorine.  As well as starting absolutely clean I'd use a good bottled water, not distilled as the minerals in normal drinking water are beneficial. 

Adding a little Whole Wheat and/or Rye flour will also help kick start your culture.  It should take a week or so to get a stable culture going.

Just Loafing's picture
Just Loafing

I was using tap water. While it has worked well before, I do suppose that the city could have increased the chlorine in the water. I have started again using a clean glass jar and bottled water.