Saturday, 27 November 2010

Sourdough Starter Death

Although she often smelt like a sour smelling brewery most of the time, I had actually formed a bit of a bond with my sourdough starter.  

My little starter on Day Three

I had finally been lured to the dark side of wild yeast.  Plus, you can even use it to make cakes! I made her on Sunday, following this River Cottage recipe and all was going good until I got home last night. 

I thought it had died.  Quite spectacularly too.  The whole thing had separated and smelt so disgusting that even I wretched.  I must explain here that there are only two things that make me wretch, I have a pretty strong stomach. 

I hoped to myself that maybe that was normal (pah!) so duly stirred it all together, at arm’s length, poured half of it away, fed it and left her somewhere warm. 


It was even worse when I got home this afternoon so I’ve admitted defeat.  Rest in peace, sourdough starter attempt 1. May your predecessor be slightly more fruitful…


  1. This happened to me too the one and only time I tried a sourdough starter and, I have to say, it has frightened me from trying again. I'll watch and see how you fare next time and might be inspired to try again...

  2. That's a real shame. We started one successfully many years ago, but it was so sour I couldn't eat the bread. Put me off for years. I now have one I was given which seems to be working well (touch wood). Don't give up.

  3. I recently started a sourdough and have had great success (not that I want to rub your nose in it! he he he)
    but my recipe is very different to yours, so perhaps you could check it out and give it a go... I only say this because I have found it so satisfying that I want to share!

  4. Thanks for the encouragement and the advice! I've restarted my starter =)

    I think attempt one either got too cold or too hot, attempt two has sought refuge in the airing cupboard!

  5. Hi Hanna,
    First, thanks for joining my blog!
    And second, don't give up with this starter. It's a weird thing! When I started mine, my mother-in-law asked if something died in my kitchen?. Apparently, it worked fine. It can smell bad, but it might not be bad..
    And check that recipe starter!
    Good luck !

  6. Hey Hanna - is your starter looking any better? Have you used the same recipe? I only ask because I had the exact same problem with the first two starters I tried :(

  7. Hey Zexxy's wife, thanks for stopping by and the encouragement!

    Hi Miri
    I have used the same recipe and it seems to be working fine, although it took a bit longer to get going. I have been giving it what I think it needs rather than what the recipe calls for. If it's looking too wet then I've made it's daily feed with more flour and the reverse if it is looking a bit thick. It seems to be enjoying it! I have a blog post in draft I need to post about her which I hope to get up soon!