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Old 03-12-2017, 05:18 AM   #1
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Sourdough Starter Help

Hi. I'm following along with Chef John to make a starter for sourdough. I'm about 5 days in and the starter is starting to smell more like acetobacter (vinegar) than it does lactobacillus (tangy). Should I carry through or should I start over?

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Old 03-12-2017, 11:15 AM   #2
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The vinegary smell is normal. Keep feeding it. This can happen if you use a different flour for feeding it. If it turns a dark color or gets mold on it...toss it, start over. It may get a clear liquid on the top. This is called hooch (alcohol). Pour it off before feeding. This is a sign that you are not feeding it enough.

I keep mine in a large container in the fridge. It is traditional San Francisco sourdough. I keep the container sealed to prevent other yeasts in the air from mixing in. Its now over 25 years old. I feed it weekly, equal parts flour and water.
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:26 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markf View Post
The vinegary smell is normal. Keep feeding it. This can happen if you use a different flour for feeding it. If it turns a dark color or gets mold on it...toss it, start over. It may get a clear liquid on the top. This is called hooch (alcohol). Pour it off before feeding. This is a sign that you are not feeding it enough.

I keep mine in a large container in the fridge. It is traditional San Francisco sourdough. I keep the container sealed to prevent other yeasts in the air from mixing in. Its now over 25 years old. I feed it weekly, equal parts flour and water.
I'll admit that I started the first feeding with AP flour. I switched over to bread flour like I should. No mold and I do have some liquid on top. I've been stirring the hooch into the slurry before I pour off.

I've been feeding equal parts flour and water too. If hooch is a sign of a lack of feeding, should I be adding a pinch more flour? Maybe 60:40?
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:47 PM   #4
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Keep water flour ratio at 50/50. Just feed it more often. If you not already storing it in the refrigerator, consider it. I feed mine 1 cup of the flour/water each week. I do like to take what I am going to use and leave it out overnight to get the yeast active again. Feed the rest, let it sit out until very foamy, then back into the fridge.
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