Starter split?


Hi experts, looking for advice on day 2-3 of my sourdough starter. It is growing nicely, has bubbled and smells pretty fruity/yeasty to me but tonight it had split into two parts - bottom a bit more solid, top rather foamy, with water in between. Is this OK? 

I think it smells ok (not that I'd know) but my partner thinks it was a bit vomity. No real discolouration.

before reading all the websites I started following Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's rather imprecise method. I know people vary with their rules...

Pic attached of the offending starter - should I persist or start again?

any comments welcome! 

310 users have voted.


farinam's picture
farinam 2014 June 7

Hello emisorsen,

I would read and follow Sourdom's method as it is one of the most reliable that I know of.

It shouldn't smell really bad but in the early days it can go through stages of smelling differently from day to day as different characters predominate and then fall out of favour.  Occasionally you can get an acetone like smell which will pass but if that persists for more than a couple of days or it gets really putrid then yes you probably should give everything a good clean and start again.

In the meantime, just keep on folllowing the regime and you will probably find that in a few more days everything will be fine.

The separation in layers can be down to too high a hydration (have a look at leadDog's Fred Bread blog) or to leaving it a bit too long between feeds as the gluten breaks down and can no longer tie up as much liquid.

Good luck with your projects.


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