starter according to Paul Hollywood


So given my love of bread I finally delved into the world of sourdough with the help of PH's book 'bread'... anyways... he says to leave the original mix (flour, water, grapes) for 3 days before discarding half and refeeding. However, it's now day 2 and mine has bubbled up so much that some has forced its way out of the jar... eep. What should I do? Is this a bad or good sign?
Thank you!!

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farinam's picture
farinam 2013 August 25

Hello Ali,

Things have just happened a little faster.  There could be any number of reasons.  Yeasts and bacteria can't read timetables. Just bring forward the next instructions and carry on.

As an aside, you can't go past the advice given in SourDoms Beginners Blogs on this site.

Good luck with your projects.


Ali 2013 August 25

Thank you :) I feel a little less anxious about it now.. though again just one concern - it smells vile! Perhaps this is because it's my first one so I'm not used to it, and I'm also easily made queasy..but yeah it smells of sick and it's horrible :(
Is this wrong?

farinam's picture
farinam 2013 August 26

Hi Ali,

The general consensus is that in this situation it is a case of start again.  If it is a sort of acetone (nail polish remover) smell then the culture can come through it in a day or two.

My inclination would be to start afresh following the flour and water method that SourDom gives.  I know the grapes are supposed to give it a boost with natural yeasts on the skins and all that but it is probably the yeasts from the flour that end up dominating anyway and for the sake of waiting for a couple of extra days to start seeing some activity I think you can well do without them.  That doesn't mean that I am saying that they are the cause of your problem.  It is probably best to be sure that you are using an unbleached flour and to include at least some wholemeal component (either wheat or rye) as the bran is a little more likely to be still carrying yeast spores etc.

Good luck with your projects.


Ali 2013 August 27

Thank you! I'm starting again! I'm going to stick to the recipe I've got (want to give it one more go) but will read it more carefully this time and actually pop the starter in the fridge!
Will report back!

PetraR 2013 October 18

I started my Sourdough Starter from Paul Hollywoods Book * Bread * and mine bakes wonderful bread.

I started mine in a large container so it bubbled but could not bubble out fo the container.

Mine smelled bad after 2 days , then like acetone for a couple of days before the sour smell.

Bakes gread bread:)

Marjorie 2016 March 2

I'm on day 3 and have ditched half and fed it.  Yes, it smells yuck,.but yeasty. 

What do you do with the grapes if they haven't disolved by the time you want to make bread?  Do you pick them out??

My first time.  I'm exciting about trying to make sourdough bread. I don't have a proving basket does this matter?? I have a pizza stone would that be a better surface to bake the bread on?  

Thanks for any and all help!  

William 2017 November 3


whenever I do my sourdough, I pick out the grapes as often they are not dissolved by the time I use the starter. It wouldn’t be a huge problem if you left them in but I prefer to not have a grape-tasting sourdough. 

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