Starter Smell


I've been expanding a dormant starter over the last couple of days, I've noticed a slight alcoholic smell, that I haven't noticed before. Do you think it will be ok to go ahead and make bread? or should I take a bit and build again?

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Danubian's picture
Danubian 2008 February 1

Barry,Well, if you've been recycling it for 3-4 weeks and kept to a proven and accurate schedule you should have no problems. I caveat that with the emphasis that provided you've started with desirable microflora and you've been careful to stick to resting time and temperature parameters you should be fine.However, if your sourdough has been dormant for 3-4 weeks and you've been recycling for just a couple of days you may need to continue for a few more. But again, the caveat of above still stands.It's sometimes problematic for people to expect an accurate diagnosis of the potential problems on the basis of scant data, especially when a description of 'smell' is the only data to work with. The truth is that at various times good sourdoughs can have differing aromas, from a deep fruity aroma - almost a Tokaj wine - to a light acidic, or a light alcoholic aroma. of course all this depends on a few of the parameters and the flour ash content.I suggest you make a few loaves but keep your sourdough recycled a few more times, but be careful to reproduce the same parameters in each cycle.If you're not sure exactly what I mean, perhaps you could try the following for a couple of days;

  • Your existing starter      50%

  • Rye/wheat flour           100%

  • water @ 22'C               70%

  • diastatic malt flour        .5%

  • temp                           22'C

  • Time                           12hrs 

You can repeat this for a couple of days and them make some bread. I hope I've been of some help.
Good luck

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