Starter Disaster


I am new to sourdough breadmaking and I started my journey a couple of weeks ago. I am using an ancient grain known as Emmer wheat flour and up until a couple of days ago I was having great success. My starter was going along very nicely and smelt very "sour" but not "off" at all. On the 5th day I changed the process and moved my starter from a small bowl to a large glass jar in order to have a clear view of the process. I also changed the amount of flour from 70gr to 100gr with the corresponding amount of water. Yesterday I was alarmed to see that my starter had mould growing on the sides of the glass jar!!!

I have thrown the lot out and am not sure how best to start again....should I go back to the small bowl covered with a saucer and a smaller amount of flour or persevere with the smaller amount? Does anyone have a similar experience to report and if so, what were the next steps?

I would be very grateful for any help or advice that anyone can offer. I'm so looking forward to being able to create my own sourdough.....

In anticipation

Lorri :)

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farinam's picture
farinam 2016 August 31

Hello Lorri,

There wasn't anything fundamentally wrong with what you did.  You were just unlucky enough to pick up some mold spores in the process.  You say that they were growing on the sides of the jar but you don't mention the body of the starter itself.  If the starter is acid (sour) then it is very resistant to mold growth because of the acid conditions so I wonder whether the mold infection was only in some 'fresh' flour batter on the sides of the jar.  It is good policy to scrape down as much from the sides as you can (without being too pedantic) and mix it into the bulk to avoid this sort of problem.  And give the jar a good rinse with boiling water before you start to kill off anything that might be lurking until you get your sourdough again.

If you haven't already, have a read of the Beginners Blogs here that you can access from the right hand panel on the Home Page.  These give you some really good and reliable information on the whole process from getting your starter going to baking your loaf.

So, jump right back in and in no time at all you will be wondering what you were so worried about.

Good luck with your projects.


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