I am attempting to create my own starter for the first time. I followed a basic process that I read on a blog (appears that I can't include links in my posts) - essentially I added 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water and let it sit overnight, dumped out half and added another 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup flour. After the first day, nothing really happened except there was a bit of separation between the flour and water. On the second day however, the starter appeared to come 'alive' as it doubled in size. I thought I was in good shape until I smelled it. It does not smell pleasant and yeasty as I have read on some of these threads. Instead, it has a fairly sour smell and smells like sour milk. I have read that the smell changes when you refrigerate it. My question - should I dump it out and try again if it continues to smell fairly sour?
If you proofed it at room temperature, there is a very good chance that it has become contaminated. Was the hooch (liquid) on the top or on the bottom? The first 24 hours are critical when activating a starter & proofing at a temperature of 85 degrees will decrease the chances of it becoming contaminated. If it is in fact contaminated you'll have to wash it.
To wash it you must do the following:
Mix it together
Dump everything except 1 cup from the jar
Fill the jar with warm water & stir vigorously
Dump everything but 1 cup
Feed starter with 1 cup flour & 3/4 cup water & proof at 85 degrees for 6-12 hours, If you don't have a proofing box then keep trying at room temperature
If it still smells you may have to repeat the process