Strange dry texture on starter surface - please help!


I’ve had this starter going for about a month or so, which I refresh regularly with a combination of rye and wholemeal flour. It has always been quite vigorous and resilient. 

I refreshed it two days ago, and when I opened it up today it had this peculiar, repulsive stuff all over the top (pictured below). It’s no longer aerated, and smells bilious.

Can I still use it? If not, how can I prevent this happening in the future? 

Thank you!

235 users have voted.


LondonBaker 2013 November 24

Like nichoalsgr the surface of my starter has gone weird! It has been healthy and I have been feeding it for almost a year. 

Now the surface has a weird alien brain texture, smells closer to mould than the previous yeasty smell, has no bubbles and no separation of clear and thicker liquid. 


Weird sourdough starterAny advice from those more experienced? Do I have to ditch this and start again? 

Also nichoalsgr I can't see your picture. 

farinam's picture
farinam 2013 November 25

Hi guys,

I hope this isn't contagious.  Then again, didn't penicillin start off something like this?

Seriously though, from what I've read, the consensus seems to be that you need to junk it and start from scratch with nice clean gear.  You could try excavating some of the grunge and take a small sample (with a different clean implement) of the deeper stuff (maybe not contaminated) to innoculate some fresh flour and water and see if that comes good.  But I would also be starting a new one as well just in case it turns out to be as bad as what you have at the moment.

Let us know how you go.

Good luck with your projects.


Post Reply

Already a member? Login