The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Contamination

beeman1's picture
beeman1

Contamination

I am in the proccess of starting 2 dried starters. In the first 12 hours I got a lot of activity. liquid on the bottom. I think they may be contaminated. I have followed the instructions from sourdough international. Has anyone had this problem? Am I doing somthing wrong? Can the starter be rehabilitated?

b_elgar's picture
b_elgar

Keep feeding as your instructions say to do.

I think it's likely pretty active, going hoochy fast and you'll be just fine.

I do not know what SI recommends, but my own start or maintenance refreshment technique entails tossing all but the scrapings from the container, and adding in 2 tbsps of flour and 2 of water. Mix and allow to ferment.

Building to use as a preferment is a bit different for quantities, but I always refresh/ resurrect my starters this way. I have 7 or 8 burbling away in the fridge right now.

Did you use all the dry starter you were sent in each packet? I like to hold back half of any dried starter I am given, just for safey's sake. Or did you take one packet and divide into two containers?

Boron

beeman1's picture
beeman1

No, I didn't hold back any starter. I think I should have. I am following instructions but the results are not quite what they show n the pictures.

Brian D's picture
Brian D

I used their starter also (long time ago). It did the same thing. Just keep going. If you write to them they will say your flour was bad. At least that is what they told me. By the way, I eventually threw away their starter. I could never get it to produce anything that plain yeast couldn't do. But keep trying. You may be luckier than me.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

I haven't any experience with SI but you should be all right. It seems that yours took off and isn't having any problems. Sourdough is sensitive to temperature, pressure, moisture content, flour constituents and pH to name a few.

Hooch is the clear, slightly yellow fluid in the mixture that you're seeing. Just stir it back in and feed it every 12 hours for the first several days. One of the best instruments for gauging sourdough is your nose. Draw in a draught of aroma from the fermenting vessel as you would to test the fragrance of a fine wine. What do you smell? Some of the adjectives used to explain it are: beery, tangy, slightly sweet, moist, earthy, organic, acetic, and nutty. Don't be afraid to taste it either. It should be sligtly sour, even acetic tasting and should leave a nice after taste or finish. The fact that you see CO2 bubbles indicates that the yeast is active. The sour or acetic smell and taste indicates that the other half of the symbiotic culture, the lactobacters and acetobacters, are active.

If your present batch doesn't work out you can always use this one:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/233

Just be patient and, most of all, use your senses to observe your culture...,

Wild-Yeast

beeman1's picture
beeman1

Actually It seems to be doing a lot better now. In the beginning it smelded like dirty socks or worse. Now it seems to be smelling more like yeast with a slight lacto smell like kosher pickles. I just don't know for sure if the organismes are the ones that they are supposed to be.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Beeman, what temperature is the starter?  One item that you have to become very sensitive to is the temperature of sourdough no matter where or what stage it's at.  77 degrees Fahrenheit is the magic number.  Lactobacillus is the fermentation type used for Kosher pickles which indicates that the temperature might be slightly high.

Wild-Yeast

beeman1's picture
beeman1

Actually they were started at about 87F per instructions. I have them at about 77F now which is room temperature here.