The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

French Style Sourdough Starter - gone moldy - is it history?

luc's picture

French Style Sourdough Starter - gone moldy - is it history?

Ok I am venturing into my first sourdough starter.
The method and recipe I am using is from the book titled:

Artisan Baking by Maggie Glezer

The recipe in particular for the 'first day' of the starter is:

1/2 cup water (3.5 ounces = 100 gram = 100% (bakers percentage)
3/4 cup Whole-rye flour (3.5 ounces = 100 grams = 100% (bakers percentage)

I've mixed this together in a glass jar, put a lid on and then labelled it and
dated it and stuck it on my shelf in the kitchen - average temp. about 30 degrees celsius.

Today (a day after making it) I opened it up to find that it has a spot of slightly greenish
fuzzy mold on it. Much like the mold spores you get on bread that has gone off.
Hmm... something tells me that that's not part of the game plan for a sourdough starter.

Can anyone confirm this?

Any ideas what might have caused this?

Any ideas on how to avoid this?

Yes, the glass jar was cleaned and washed prior to having starter placed in it as was the counter and
the flour from the bag is fine. The water is perhaps a tad hard but other than that...drinkable.

Thanks in advance from anyone willing to share their knowledge.

Best regards,

andrew_l's picture

I found Maggie Gleezer's starter method very good. I'd remove the mould, and folllow on from her next step - i.e. the second feeding. As soon as the bacteria you want start to form, they inhibit mould formation. To help the right bacteria form, you could stir a desert spoon of active natural yogurt in there - again, mould inhibiting.

By the time it has been refreshed a few times, the yogurt itself will have become so dilute as not to count - even dairy allergic people would be able to eat it in that dilution.

If mould forms three days running, then I think I'd throw that starter and begin again (propbaly adding yogurt from the outset). But give it a chance!

ryan's picture

I think you should treat any mouldy food like you would with veg or meat. Also it won't help your starter in the long run to keep it. Best have a strong starter and a healthy one n'est pas?

Happy Baking,


Floydm's picture

If it really has fuzzy mold on it, I would toss it out and try again using something like SourdoLady's starter method. I think the high acidity of the pineapple juice would help fight the fuzz.

luc's picture

Thanks people for the information and insight.
I tossed the first starter as the fuzz was gettin... well... just too fuzzy to really make me want to eat anything with it.

I started a two new ones yesterday night and by tonight they seem to be expanding in size a tad and when viewed from the side they appear to producing gas as viewing from the side shows plenty of bubbles in the gooey mass that I have parental feelings for. LOL!

@ Floydm - I'm gonna check out SourdoLady's method right now.

Once again thanks everyone - if I actually manage to produce a proper loaf or many out of these starters then I will post shots.

andrew_l's picture

Luc - I followed Maggie Gleezer's method and it worked a treat. Initially it seems to be going well, but that is bacteria, which lower the pH to a point where they aren't happy and it all appears to go dead.
But keep feeding it - the yeasts are starting at this point and it will get going very well indeeed.

Good luck, Andrew

luc's picture

So far so good.
Today was the first feeding of the new batch of starter (started after the first one got moldy and fuzzy). So everything at the moment is a bit less soupy than before and yes does indeed appear to have slown down. But I'll switch on the patience.

At the same time I started a Sourdough starter of sorts... I was soaking some cracked Rye flakes to put on top of a loaf - I forgot to actually put them on the loaf before baking... not wanting to waste them I figured why not try the same starter but instead of using Rye flour use the Rye flakes instead... sure enough - the results so far look promising... all sorts of bubbling and activity... and a very funky alcoholic smell - so I tossed in about a tablespoon full of yogurt... and the stuff is back to bubbling up!

So we'll see how it goes over the next couple of days... both for the starter based on Maggies formula and for the Rye flake/Yogurt starter.

Best regards,