Too active starter?

Hello

I've just stumbled across this forum having started a bit of a sourdough experiment.  I think I might have the opposite problem of most people when creating the starter - it is extremely active after only 20 hours or so.

I mixed organic unbleached white flour, water and some crushed red grapes (in a muslin bag submerged in the mix) and put it in the cupboard above the hot water tank, which is pretty warm.  I now have a very bubbly and fluffy mix, with a darker liquid layer part way down and then a pale beige layer under that.  It at least doubled in size and smells sweet and a bit off - kind of like baby vomit.  Not really rotten but a bit like fermented or 'on the turn' fruit.

My recipe said that it should take 10 days to a fortnight to get even some bubbles and signs of activity, and not to start feeding the starter until that happened.   

So, my question: is there something wrong with the starter, or has it just gone much quicker than anticipated?  Shall I throw it out and start again? Leave it for the 10 days recommended in the recipe? Or start feeding it now?

I have taken it out of the warm cupboard and it is in the kitchen, which fluctuates between about 17 C and 3 or 4 C (when the heating is off overnight).

I hope you can confirm that this has just gone much quicker than expected, but if it's gone wrong, I'd like to cut my losses and start again asap.

Thanks!!

4 comments

I haven't made a starter before, so, I'm just guessing here. Those bubbles could be mainly from the fermenting grapes. If that happened to me, I'd keep feeding it. Why don't you observe your starter over a few days and see how it behaves.

Good time to make a starter...you'll easily remember the day. Happy New Year!

TP


Thanks TeckPoh.

I found this on wildyeastblog:

 early leuconostoc; looks promising early on, but not good to bake with! I hope you keep feeding your culture and I think eventually it will turn into a good starter.

in response to someone's query about early activity.  So, I think I'm just going to wait for this early bacteria to die down and hope over the next 10 days the wild yeasts will colonise the culture, and keep it a bit cooler.  I'll start feeding in a week or so. I've also posted a query on wildyeastblog in case Susan recommends something different.

Any other thoughts on whether this is the right course of action appreciated!

Thanks.

Another 24 hours and now it is not bubbly any more, but separates out to a dough at the bottom and a clear liquid at the top and smells a bit of acetone (combined with sick).  I've read some references to this meaning it needs feeding, so I'm probably going to try that now instead of waiting.  

Comments gratefully received.

Did you keep feeding it?  How did it go?  Do you have a healthy starter now?

 

Matthew