The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough starter fermenting too fast

Satyr79x's picture

Sourdough starter fermenting too fast


I just started making my sourdough starter Last night. I fed it a few hours ago and it almost tripled in size within like 4 hours. It still smells bad and i know i can't use it. But at this rate, I'm afraid of leaving it on its container unattended and it pouring out of the container.

Is it normal for a starter to ferment this fast?

A few minutes ago i discarded half of the starter and refed it, btw.

PalwithnoovenP's picture

If it's just a few days old, the sudden burst of activity is not yeast yet. It is from some undesirable bacteria and the bad smell that you mentioned likely confirms this.

If that's the case, you do not want to feed it often. Activity will cease after some more time and what's happening is the bad bacteria are dying out and the ph is dropping lower which is what you want because it means that the lactobacilli and the yeast will be the next to wake up. Only feed when there is some activity again. You can also try to feed it once a day while waiting, just don't overfeed it or you will delay the start of your sourdough adventures. :)

Satyr79x's picture

Excellent. Thanks.

I am also seeing some water at the top of my starter. Would this be normal?

Also, my starter has a couple of days. Started it on friday night.

emmsf's picture

Hi. Regarding the liquid you see accumulating at the top of your starter, yes that is normal. Once your starter is well-established, the liquid (called “hooch”) will only form after the starter hasn’t been fed for a while.  In any case, it’s perfectly fine and you should not discard it - stir it back into the starter before the next feeding.  Good luck. 

Abe's picture

The bad bacteria is active and the second feed when it's sprung to life is really just feeding this bad bacteria. It's impressive but not what we're looking for.

I suggest you wait for it to calm down a little before feeding again.  

Satyr79x's picture

Thanks for your reply!