What is going on with my starter?


I am concerned about the abnormality that looks like mold, not so much  with the lines as they occur frequently when I do not stir the starter or leave in in the fridge for a few days.  However, I am interested in why my starter does not look like other starters.  I made my own starter on the counter of my home with the help of some tibicos to give it a kick start.  I use a wheat based flour.

Is this mold?

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!


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farinam's picture
farinam 2013 December 8

Hell KimbaMarie,

I would have to say that I have not see a starter that looks quite like that.  However, if it does work to make good bread and you are still alive then I guess it is OK.

I assume that you do keep it covered (loosely) to prevent it being contaminated by spores and stuff floating around in the air and inside your fridge.  The dark colour does suggest some drying out.  If not I would suggest that drying and /or contamination could be a cause of this effect and I would recommend that you do start using a cover.  I have a wide necked glass bottle with a plastic screw cap that I put on with only half a turn just to engage the threads but not to make an air-tight seal.

I would also think in termsof trying to 'decontaminate' what you have by removing the surface layer and taking some of the sub-surface material and rebuild it with flour and water in thoroughly cleaned equipment.  I wouldn't worry about the tibicos and other stuff, flour and water are perfectly adequate for the task, particularly if you use a proportion of wholemeal flour (rye is good) as your feeding regime.

Have a look at SourDom's beginners blog on this site for some excellent advice on all aspects of starting and maintaining starters and bread making in general.

Good luck with your projects.



KimbaMarie 2013 December 9

Hi farinam,

Thank you for your response.

Yes the starter has worked well for me.  I keep my starter rather dry and I think this attributes to the weird lines.  I added tibicos only once during the first week.  I regularly feed my tibicos molasses and I wanted some of the flavor to transfer to the starter.  I have read that you could use kombucha to help you starter, so I figured tibi would act similarly.  This is my first time making my own starter (or making any bread for that matter) but the bread had no problems rising without any additional yeast so I have to think something in there was alive and well.

I have been keeping it covered. I have a jar with a glass lid that was wrapped in plastic, I just removed the plastic lining.  So the jar is covered but loosly.

I think I will start adding in some rye to my mix.


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