Fungi and other issues

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Hello all,

I have been using sourdough for quite some time now, still have not mastered the use of it completely but on the occasion where things are successful the bread is just delicious.

I keep my started in the fridge in an air-tight jar. Recently I had less time to attend to my starter and it was left in the fridge for 3-4 weeks roughly. Obviously my poor yeast has starved and I got hootch. This happened before but nothing like what I have now. There is a thick black layer of fluid, inside some small bubbles that look like mushrooms/balloons.

The other problem is that I now have fungi growing inside the jar, quite a lot of them. This is also new and I have no idea why and how it happened.


Anyone familiar with this? I can try and post pictures if you think it will help.




231 users have voted.


Millciti's picture
Millciti 2010 December 30

 So don't keep the jar airtight.  Most starters can survive for a while in the fridge without refreshing.  Some have reported months.  You can still try to refresh your starter by taking a small amount of starter from the bottom of the jar. Usually it is best to scrape off what sounds like mold and  and  then scoop a little bit of starter out of the very bottom.  If your starter can breathe it will more likely get drier.

However to get all of the various bread raising microbes in the culture back up to speed you should refresh a few days before you bake.  Hopefully the fungi is just mold and will go away once you feed your culture air, flour and water.  I have let some cultures go for a while in the fridge and the hooch and mold is pretty fierce looking.  

Pictures might be helpful.

Croc gives more details in the following forum: .   He suggests a clean sterilized jar too. 



CayoKath 2011 January 1

Starter can really grow STUFF!  I've had pink mold and grey mold but never anything I'd call fungus.  So, I've learned to 1) use a new glass canister with straight sides and a loose-fitting glass lid (available at Target stores); 2) empty, wash and sterilize the jar with boiling water every two or three uses; 3) use boiled or distilled water when feeding; and 4) keep the starter in a stable temperature environment away from lid-lifting nose-pokers who might get something in it (the back of the fridge behind the salad is perfect). 


Previously, I'd used crockery pitchers with a saucer balanced on top.  The problem was that crockery can get minute cracks in the glaze which harbors contaminants even when doused with boiling water.  Also, the pitcher, having a spout, was a bit too open and moths would invade when I was warming it up. I've determined that purified water is the best bet.  We have great drinking water here, but there are all sorts of allowed microbes and chlorine in it.  Lastly, the stable temp environment keeps the starter on an even keel.  On the counter, near the stove and toaster ovens, it was prone to variations of cold (hubby likes to cut the heat drastically during the day) and heat far too frequently.  Also, my husband is not a clean as you go type and I found too many times an emptied cat food can sitting next to my starter.  Not good.  On hubby's defense, though, when it's his turn to make the bread, he has adopted cleaner habits and makes a mighty fine loaf! 


So far, the starter has been marvelously healthy and active with no ickies.  Cheers!

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