The Fresh Loaf

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is my 8 day old starter supposed to have a strong acidic scent?

rolls's picture

is my 8 day old starter supposed to have a strong acidic scent?

hi my starter is about a week old i made it following susan's directions on her blog i've been feeding it every day at 9am and 9pm so twelve hour feeds. yesterday i suddenly noticed it became foamy and bubbly overnight so today i used all white for the flour rather than the previous rye + white mixed.

so, feed 75g starter with 75g white flour and 75g water. a couple hours later i noticed it had already doubled, lovely and bubbly all over.  but.... i noticed a really strong scent since yesterday morning and its still there. i can only describe it as acidic, not sure. but its strong. i wasn't sure what to do so i put it in the fridge.

does it sound like its doing alright, or is it stuffed somehow?

this is my first serious starter and i'd appreciate any help thanks!

SulaBlue's picture

It should smell a bit like beer. My white-flour starter that I got from Whole Foods had more of an acidic tang to it, but still has the underlying scent of beer.

rolls's picture

i have no idea what bear smells like maybe thats it? so its supposed to smell like that what sort of signs should i be looking for over the next few weeks?


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Believe you me, you don't want your starter to smell like BEAR.  That can be quite strong but a good place to find the best apples and wild plums!  Just keep a look out and stay down wind.

BEER is another thing.  Beer & cheese, ripe fruit.  Yeast and good Bacteria smell pleasant.  It should not separate and stay creamy and frothy.  The change in smell sounds like a good sign.  After it matures, it slowly goes flat or looses most of the volume and gets runny and smooth.  I can sit like this for another 12 hours on the counter or in a cooler place (not cold like the refigerator) but if it separates and forms beer or hooch on top, it's gone too long before a feeding.  You should still leave it out at room temperature since it is quite young, but then you might want to give it more flour so you can feed every 24 hours.  

For starters, triple the amounts: one part starter 20g, three parts or 60g water, and three parts or 60g flour and see how long it comes out.  (1:3:3)

Give it a few feedings with AP before you start to bake with it. 



tangled's picture

Thanks for starting my day with one of the funniest things I've read in ages. We don't get bears in England. The smelliest thing in my kitchen is my dog (sometimes, depending on what she's been rolling in).

My rye starter does smell quite acidic, by the way, but my white flour starter much less so. If you are feeding twice a day, in a Susan-style, then you should have a nicely active starter: it sounds like it, from how you describe it. Good luck with the baking.

carlos.ribeiro's picture

Such a nice and refined sense of humor😂😂😂

rolls's picture

thanks so much everyone lol i just noticed my spelling. so i'll take it out of the fridge and feed once a day  1:3:3 ratio? okay thats good so the smells normal. can't wait to start using it when is it considered mature? and when do i leave it in the frige if ever? any advice on future feedings?

thanks heaps!!

clazar123's picture

I keep my starter out on the counter and feed it daily and bake with it once a week.So every week I am building the volume up for use in a recipe. I keep it in a quart jar so it has plenty of room to double.I actually have 6 jars going ( 2 are a friends I am keeping for her-just like pet sitting :))

If I don't bake on a weekend, then I discard what I'd usually use for breadmaking and keep the feeding routine. SOmetimes I forget to feed and it can develop some hooch on top-telling me it's hungry.I may feed twice in that day to bring it back to strength. My starter doubles in 2-4 hours.

As to the "discard" I usually use it in a pancake or other baking, just for flavor.

I do have a sample in the refrigerator in case something happens to my starter but actually, if something happens I will just start another.Not difficult.

I'd probably put it in the refrigerator if I left for more than a few days. Then I'd just build it up when I got back-may take a few days of twice daily small feedings but it works fine.

rolls's picture

thanks so when you say you build up your starter, you're just feeding not discarding anything?