Author Topic: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?  (Read 8418 times)

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Offline mistergreen

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Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« on: September 19, 2006, 01:54:36 PM »
i'm messing around with making a started from scratch... I know what it's suppose to look like but i think the smell is important too right?

i'm in day 2 and it looks like it's suppose to ( a little frothy bubbles ) but the smell is questionable... it has a sour and a little stinky smell.
is this part of the natural fermenting process? and do i need for proof it longer and wait till the good bioforms take over the bad bioforms?

thanks


Offline scott r

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Re: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2006, 03:00:18 PM »
sour and stinky is not good.  I like the smell of mine when it is in the correct balance.  You may need to do a wash.

Offline mistergreen

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Re: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2006, 03:50:44 PM »
can you describe the smell of your good batch?
i've been told it should smell like beer.

yeah, i might have to start over.
m

Offline varasano

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Re: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2006, 04:07:23 PM »
When it's young it smells kind of flat. Not appealing, but not in any way offensive. But after a day or so unfed at room temp it begins to smell like wine. The older it is, the more like wine is smells. After about 3 weeks it's hard to tell it from wine.

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Offline David

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Re: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2006, 04:28:41 PM »
I have a different viewpoint as mine smells like a Bakery?Not the baked bread smell but that creamy flour smell.Not objectionable at all.When it's working at full strength and has the power to pop the lid off the container it still has a creamy scent and a mild alcohol smell - again not objectionable,but make no mistake this thing is producing gas.
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Offline varasano

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Re: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2006, 04:35:10 PM »
I think they all smell different. That's kind of the point. I've smelled others and they are totally different than mine.

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2006, 04:36:48 PM »
All starter cultures are different. Mine all smell and taste differently at different stages - but all the smells are really good to my nose.

I have no idea what this means, but a friend, upon smelling my fully active Camaldoli starter said it was like what a mother smells like to her baby. She was totally serious. Maybe that's why we like these starters so much  ???

Bill/SFNM

Offline varasano

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Re: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2006, 04:56:03 PM »
So I guess mine smells like what a Pabst Blue Ribbon smells like to Courtney Love

Offline scott r

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Re: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2006, 05:15:47 PM »
that's a good one jeff.

Mistergreen, don't start over.  You just need to wash it.

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2006, 05:30:03 PM »
Mistergreen, don't start over.  You just need to wash it.

Scott,

I'm not sure I agree. The OP said he was building a starter from scratch. I assume he is hoping to capture critters from the air, flour, etc. If that is case, it is easy to create a brew with nothing in it worth culturing, one that is dominated by bad tasting/smelling bugs that no amount of washing will remedy (been there). If he is using a dehydrated starter culture like those from sourdo.com, then washing will indeed create an environment which will allow the desirable  microorganisms to recover and dominate. Am I missing something here?

Bill/SFNM


Offline varasano

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Re: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2006, 05:34:01 PM »
I think you are right bill. Maybe one round of wash wouldn't kill ya as an experiement, but if it doesn't smell good, washing it over and over is just creating a healthy breeding environment for the nasty thing you've got.

Personally, I recommend finding a starter that is known to be of high quality and not so much trying to trap whatever is hanging around the ole trailer.

Jeff

Offline scott r

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Re: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2006, 05:43:21 PM »
sorry guys, I missed the part where mistergreen said he was not using a known starter.


I know nothing about catching a live starter, only the sourdo.com stuff.

Offline mistergreen

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Re: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2006, 06:11:26 PM »
yes, i'm starting from scratch... just four and water.... i just started another batch with flour, water and grapes... grapes naturally has a specific yeast organism on its skin. i like experimenting.

by washing, you mean dumping half of it and adding more water and flour?

well, i'll give my first batch 12 more hours... if it still smell questionable, i'll dump it although it looks great so far (bubbles and everything).



Offline scott r

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Re: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2006, 06:35:52 PM »
I think if you have bubbles it is worth it to do a wash.

If you search marco's earlier posts there is one to me with his technique.  It turned my nasty gross sour smelling starter into the most amazing thing to come along in my baking career.

I think it was equal parts starter/flour/water, then change every six hours.  After a few of these washes go ahead and let it rise and fall, or bubble then slow, and do another normal feeding.  You might have something worthwile.

Again, I am no expert at catching yeast, but it might just work out.

Offline mistergreen

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Re: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2006, 07:13:33 PM »
thanks, i'll try the washing thing

i think i have yeast and lactobacilli... and others... but i just need to get rid of some unwanted guests.


Offline tonymark

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Re: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2006, 09:28:47 PM »
If you search marco's earlier posts there is one to me with his technique.  It turned my nasty gross sour smelling starter into the most amazing thing to come along in my baking career.

mistergreen,
Being a new member, you not know that Marco's forum handle is pizzanapoletana.  He is responsible for sending the 2 Italian cultures to sourdo.com.  He cultured the Camadoli culture himself.

A good culture should smell somewhere between a good beer (i.e. vintage Barleywine, premium Belgian Ale) and baking bread.  I regularly smell the culture when reviving it from the fridge.  That is how good it smells.

TM
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Offline varasano

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Re: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2006, 11:05:14 PM »
> I regularly smell the culture when reviving it from the fridge.
Me too. I made some dough and I open it every time I pass the fridge, just because it smells so good.

Jeff

Offline ernestrome

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Re: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2006, 05:06:42 AM »
I've had several different starters. My advice would be to get a different flour and start a new culture, see if you prefer it's smell and taste. All my starters have smelled nice to me, but my gf finds some unpleasant and some tolerable.


Quote
I know nothing about catching a live starter, only the sourdo.com stuff.

You should try it, it is a good experience.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2006, 08:19:51 AM by ernestrome »

Offline scott r

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Re: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2006, 10:59:45 AM »


You should try it, it is a good experience.


I know, but I am more tempted by all the other proven and amazing sounding cultures available at sourdo.com.  I live in a big city filled with pollution and my yard is concrete!

I would love to find the time some day while on vacation somewhere nice.  I could be crazy, but I did find that my starter seemed to work better while I was visiting with my sister in northern California.  Maybe I will try when I am visiting her this Christmas.

Offline ernestrome

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Re: Can you describe the smell of a good starter too?
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2006, 11:22:55 AM »
Haha, you stirrer :)

I live in the city too, it will still work!!!

Tempted by the sourdo cultures, but enjoy the fun of making and trying lots of new starters.

« Last Edit: September 20, 2006, 11:24:39 AM by ernestrome »


 

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