starter turned yellow


The weather here became quite hot lately (in high 80's to 90;s) and somehow my sourdough starter has become a yellowish color. It does not really smell bad. It just smells a bit sharper. I baked a batch of bread and it came out with a sort of pungent taste, more sour than usual. Now i noticed the yellow color. What would be the cause of that? should i throw it out? or perhaps just use a tiny bit to make a new starter? 

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farinam's picture
farinam 2013 June 20

Hello atara,

Yellow is not something I have heard of before though all sorts of colours are possible for moulds etc.  Is this a surface effect or is it right through the body of the starter?

If it is a surface effect, I would think about removing a layer and then with a clean spoon, jar etc, start with a small anount of clean starter and build the volume back up over a number of feeding cycles at say 12 hour intervals.  If it is really hot, try to store it somewhere as cool as possible - maybe in an Esky or cooler bag.  I wouldn't go for the fridge just yet.

If the rebuilt starter looks and smells normal after a few days of this TLC then I would take to storing it in the fridge between uses.

If the nasty look continues/returns, then maybe you should consider starting from scratch - sad, but not the end of the earth.

Good luck with your projects.


atara 2013 June 22

actually the yellow was through the entire starter and i mixed up a batch of dough and the entire dough turned yellow so i threw it out. But then i decided to mix up a new starter on the side and that flour and water turned yellow immediately so I realized there is something wrong with the FLOUR. I never saw such a thing before. Very strange! So i threw that flour out and I went and bought new unbleached flour and hopefully it is good. I think i managed to salvage the old starter as you suggested so let's hope for the best...

i wonder why that other flour would have turned yellow (and very strange smell as well)?? it was a brand new pkg. 

farinam's picture
farinam 2013 June 22

Hello atara,

That does sound very odd.  You should have taken it back to where you bought it.  You might have got a refund at least and hopefully an explanation of what was going on.  Perhaps you can ask around to see if anybody else had similar experiences and maybe report it to the supplier.

Good luck with your projects.


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