Sourdough starter - Parmesan smell

minniebaker

I've been following thekitchn's sourdough starter recipe - 4 oz ap flour + 4 oz water daily for 4 days, and should be ready to use on day 5. Day 2 it smelt like vomit, but I forged ahead, and day 3 it smelt like nail varnish, so I thought I was getting somewhere. Day 4 it had a layer of water on top, not sure if it was hooch, but I drained it off and added more flour and slightly less water. Day 5, it started to smell like parmesan, so day 6, I dumped half out and added the same 4 oz flour and 4 oz water, but today it still smells like parmesan, and very few bubbles, compared to the lovely frothy bubbling I had on days 2 and 3. I live in a pretty hot and humid climate, we usually average about 32C. I'm not really sure where to go from here, do I just leave it, or keep feeding it, or should I start over? 

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jeffgstoyanoff 2018 July 6

I was having the exact same problem - vomit, acetone, parmesan. My climate here is also rather warm - around 90F (32C) with high humidity. (Even with the AC running, the kitchen is usually above the 75F.) I ditched thekitchn's recipe and have moved onto a recipe from Paul Hollywood's How to Bake. It's on his website http://paulhollywood.com/recipes/sourdough-starter/.

Day 1 was rather uneventful after the mix. Day 2, however, had all sorts of action - the starter more than doubled, leading me to have to find a larger container to move it into. This morning (Day 3) even that container was at its limit, so, per the recipe, I discarded half of the starter and added the flour and water amounts listed. It has risen a bit after that, but not much.

I'm guessing that the heat and humidity are quickening the rise/fermentation. From what I read on this forum and others, the liquid seems to be from a lack of food for the microbes, yeast, etc, which would suggest they're processing more quickly than normal.

This wasn't really an answer as much as an empathizing note. Sorry! I'll look forward to others' better responses.

minniebaker 2018 July 6

Oo I may try that instead! I just dumped mine out after days of inactivity, and today it developed a skin on top. Don't worry, the emphathising note was rather comforting. Thank you! 

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