Help I forgot to feed my starter could it have gone off?


Hi everyone,
After hearing someone from this site on the radio I got all keen and checked this site for recipes and such.
I got in and commenced my starter and left it to grow and fed it the second night.
However, then I got busy and forgot about it. I forgot it for about 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 days. When I remembered it was all bubbly (not quite ready bubble wise) but it was also quite smelly - probably a normal 'sour' smell if I remember from making the Amish friendship cakes (although the smell of that did turn me off the cake!).
Should I keep feeding it now or is there the possibility that it could have gone off?

272 users have voted.


Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 April 27

Cheryl, I would say that it was perfectly OK, just carry on the starter method. Some eager new people could do with forgetting their starter for a few days in the early stages, the temptation to fiddle is sometimes too great.

Graham's picture
Graham 2006 April 27

Cheryl I am to blame for your bubbly predicament. That was me on the radio the other day. The good news is you have successfully captured a sourdough culture. And really there is no bad news because all you have to do is preserve your culture until this Sunday, and visit the co-operative bake at:


To stabilise your culture until then, add a small amount (5g - about one teaspoon) of your existing and rapidly aging starter into a bowl with 25g of flour and 25ml water (my preference is organic wholewheat, and water without additives, but most flours and any drinking water should work for this purpose). Throw the unused part of your original brew into the compost.

Mix this all together and put it in a clean jar in the fridge. The culture works more slowly in thick, cool circumstances. Add a little more flour if the mix is runny or sloppy, to make more of a doughy mix. You can use this mix at the appropriate time during the bake that begins Sunday. I am very glad to hear you made the leap from radio land and dived head first into sourdough.


TCHAZZA 2006 April 27

Thankyou Bill and thankyou Graham.
I went on and fed my starter this morning and am continuing to let it bubble. I don't think it was quite as bubbly as it should be yet Graham from what you said and what I have read on this site.
Will have to go and check the recipes and information that I downloaded from the net because I didn't think that it said to throw all of the starter out except for 1 teaspoon. - That was a bit of a shock.
Will 1 teaspoon of it be enough to keep it going?
Anyway will trust you. I will follow your instructions in the morning when it has had a little longer to.......sour, is that the correct word?
Thankyou for your help!!! Cheryl

Graham's picture
Graham 2006 April 27

I don't think it was quite as bubbly as it should be yet Graham from what you said and what I have read on this site.

Hi Cheryl

That advice I gave you earlier was for a bubbly, well developed starter that had potential to eat itself to death. Sorry, but I must have misinterpreted your original post.

If it is not or has never been fermenting wildly, just leave it longer until fermentation is obvious. Keep the temperature above 20C. I started a leaven recently and kept it at around 25C (it went as high as 27C and as low as 23C. It was mildly active in 24 hours, and very active about 8 hours later.

You should not have to keep composting your brew as a regular part of making sourdough bread...though sometimes it is the best thing to do. In this case I was just trying to give your culture safe passage to Sunday's beginners forum.


Terri 2019 July 19
Can I bake tomorrow on day 9 ( one day early). If so do I still feed it first?

Post Reply

Already a member? Login