mold on sour starter


Hi, new to this board. I have been making sourdough with Alaska sourdough (supposedly from the Gold Rush days). Recently, I have relocated and my starter has been in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks in a plastic container with four layers of cheesecloth cover. Now, when I removed the cheese cloth, there is the gray liquid, but it also had three round circles of MOLD...I removed the mold, and some of the starter and added my water and flour. However, does the presence of mold circles render my starter inedible and dangerous? It doesn't smell all that good, either.

Please, any assistance to a New York City bread baker will be greatly appreciated.

264 users have voted.


matthew 2007 November 13

I've never had mold on my starter before so I'm not quite sure. If you're worried throw it out and start again. If you can't bear to do that, maybe take a very small portion and refresh it regularly for a while and see what happens.


sourdoughmarie 2007 November 15

I skimmed off the mold, watered and fed it, and have let it sit now for 48 hours. Smelling better, and perhaps I should take some out and start over again. I really like the idea of the link to Alaska, even though realistically, I know that the yeasts are more Nebraska than Alaska after 7 years. Thanks for your comment

Croc 2007 November 15

i had this happen to me once, smell i got was like paint......
there was no alaska connection in my starter so i didn't mind starting fresh one.

here is good info about you should do


Polluted starter can be revived, even though it may be all dark,
super moldy, or whatever. Do not stir polluted starter. If mold
exists, carefully scrape or spoon as much off as you can. Remove a
couple of tablespoons of the best part of the starter to a clean,
scalded container. If you plan to use the original container for
starter again, wash it thoroughly with warm soapy water and carefully
scald it inside and out by pouring boiling water into and on it. Be
careful to prevent burns! Hot pads or gloves soak up boiling water
and hold it on your skin even longer than spilling it alone would do.
If your starter only qualified as "polluted" due to the inclusion of
any of the baking ingredients listed above, it will only be necessary
to wash the starter container with warm, soapy water. Scalding never
hurts (unless you scald yourself!), but it's more optional in this
case. In any case, follow the following directions to restore your

1. Using 1 of the 2 tablespoons you rescued from the polluted
starter, add 1 cup of 75 degrees water, 1 1/2 cups all-purpose white
flour, and proof for exactly 24 hours at 72-77 degrees.

2. Refrigerate for no less than 12 hours, then repeat step 1.

3. The proof-refrigerate cycle should be repeated at least once. Use
your own judgement. If the starter was unusually dark or contained
mold, I'd suggest doing it at least 4 or 5 times to be sure the
offending organisms are eradicated. If the starter merely contained
other baking ingredients, then a single 24-hour proof is probably
enough. Each cycle is started by using 1 tablespoon from the last


Post Reply

Already a member? Login