The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Vinegar Smell?

bwas's picture

Vinegar Smell?

Hi friends,

I've neglected my starter in the back of the fridge for a while.  When I pulled it out last night, it looked like its usual, neglected self -- goopy down the bottom, dark top layer, liquid on the top.   It also smelled fairly vinegar-y.  I decided to stir and feed it and see what happens.

Over night, it got pretty bubbly and happy looking but it still smells a bit like vinegar.  Not very pleasant.  Any thoughts on whether it's ruined and should be discarded or if there's something I can do to get it back on track? 

 Thanks so much!

Oldcampcook's picture

Stir the starter well and feed twice a day.

I feed at 6am and 6 pm because that suits my work schedule.

I feed one portion starter, 4 portions flour and 3 portions filtered water.

Two or 3 days of this routine should get it back into condition for you.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Hi Brent.  Welcome, glad you joined us, now FEED YOUR STARTER!  Times a wasting!

Take out a tablespoon and add about 1/4 cup of water, stir in some flour and let it sit out until it doubles.  Then take out a tablespoon of that (discard) and feed it again.   Then increase the volume for a recipe, save some of the starter, and make yourself some bread.  Don't forget to feed the starter, rest and store it. 

Don't worry about the vinegar smell, that's left from fermenting and it will soon be gone when the beasties have fed.  Some get alcohol, other's vinegar, no big deal.  (your beasties just don't magically produce fine wine, maybe they did but you didn't notice as they were partying at the back of the fridge.)  When it happens to a winery, they get into the salad business.  I'm sure there's a chemical reason for it.

Mini O

bwas's picture

Thanks for your advice!   I'm currently trying to feed and revive it -- we'll see what happens!