About bacterias etc in sourdough


Hi, I am new to this community, but I have been baking sourdough breads for about three years.  I have a question that may seem a bit over the top, but I ask anyway:
Is there any possibility that a Sourdough starter which smells good, works fine, and produce fantastic bread, can contain any bacteria or parasites that are not healthy for us?

I ask because to me sourdough still seem a bit magic, and I tend to ask: how can I know that this is good?

I dried my starter in May, and when I tried to wake it up in august, it took me a good five or six days before it started to behave and smell normal.  I fed it twice and left it in room temperature for four or five days, while I wondered if I had to make a new starter. 

Can someone please comfort me? :)

202 users have voted.


Mick Thebaker 2020 January 17

G'day Hanne_C, if you have the pleasant sweet vinegary smell, all should be good. It's an indication that the lactobacillus (workhorses of the microbe world) are the dominant beneficial bacteria. The wild yeasts present happily coexist with them as they benefit each other. I have found that starte storage at low temperatures 1-4C also helps because there are less pathogens  at those temps. I lost a starter trying to store it around 10C because the pathogens are far more abundant there. I work away a fair bit, so slowing everything down is a necessity. My starter readily bounces back into action once I get it out & bring it up to room temperature. I always set up a new active starter, feed my main starter & put it straight back to bed so there's plenty of food for the storage period.

Hope this helps.


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