The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Unpleasant smell ..... please advice

jr07's picture

Unpleasant smell ..... please advice

hi all

i have had my starter for 3 years and have used it succesfully to bake on the weekends . Even though I started it with regular flour, my feeding method has called almost always for rye. I like the flavor it adds to breads. I usually keep it in the fridge, and take it out on weekends, feed it, use it, and the fridge again. Using it once a week maybe once every 10 days.


for the last 2 weeks I have kept it outside at room temperature, just to see if there is any difference in behaviour. I have been feeding it every 3-4 days, but not using it. 


I have noticed that is has changed color to a slight orange, and it has developed a foul smell. 

My intuition tells me that if I feed it reguralry daily it could eventually go away. And return to normal , but will it? 




clazar123's picture

An easy maxim to remember and it increases your chances of survival. I know humans eat a lot of stinky smelling food that is considered delightful but if you don't know for sure, it is just not worth the risk  to me. It is easy enough to build another starter.

Lesson learned-either keep it in the refrigerator on minimal feedings while cold or feed twice daily if kept at warm room temps.

David R's picture
David R

In general, useful yeasts and safe bacteria don't create any noticeable colours. I mean of course they probably all have a colour of some sort, but the organisms you want all fit in with the dull-beige tones of your starter - not orange, not green, not black, etc.

phaz's picture

If it's at room temp, and only fed every 3 or 4 days, is has most likely starved to death (unless you feed it something like 1 part starter to 50 parts food) and now has gotten enough out of balance too allow the bad things to get a foothold. Gray or green, scrape it off and keep going. Orange, reddish or pinkish - time to start another. Will it go away eventually with regular feeding - probably, but it would be quicker to start from scratch.