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Author Topic: Trouble with my SD culture.  (Read 490 times)

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Offline TX2Labs

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Trouble with my SD culture.
« on: October 24, 2018, 02:51:08 PM »
I bought the ischia SD culture several months back.  I had an issue getting it activated (vomit smell) but keeping after it, I finally "got it" and we're been trucking along ever since with no issues.  I have a backup starter in the fridge and have been feeding it every month or two, with my working starter on the counter.

At first, I was dutifully feeding it every morning.  Then based upon reading from others I thought I could back off and feed it every other day.  Seemed to be going well.

My doughs seemed to be a little less tasty as of late.  Still good (better than ADY I'd been using) but not "WOW" like they were the first few times. 

Well, last week in a hurry before work, I forgot to feed.  I didn't discover it until the next morning, so it had been 3 days since the last feeding.  The consistency and smell were off.  The consistency was essentially a liquid and the smell was like that of vinegar. 

Side note, and wondering if this might be a cause.  Last week, while making my dough I realized I had forgotten to put the lid back on the starter jar (so it was uncovered for probably an hour or so).  The top had kind of started to harden and there was a tiny knat stuck in there.   :-X  I removed the knat with all of the surrounding starter around it, but I'm wondering if that little thing introduced some type of bacteria that started to go wild in there?

I've been feeding it every 12 hours since trying to get it back.  The awful smell is gone for the most part, but it's still there a tiny bit and doesn't smell sweet and normal like the backup.

I pulled out my backup starter, brought it to RT and it smells wonderful.

Should I just toss the other one and start a new one?  I mean, as long as I keep a backup, there's no need to try to "rescue" the one that's been on the counter right?  Am I thinking of this correctly?

Offline vtsteve

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Re: Trouble with my SD culture.
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2018, 12:44:48 AM »
I'd fork the backup (and put half back in the fridge), and toss the skunked one. Yay backups!   :-D
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Offline corkd

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Re: Trouble with my SD culture.
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2018, 03:06:15 PM »
When my starter begins to smell “vinegary”- acetic acid developing if I’m not mistaken- i “wash” it and that usually brings things back into balance.
Agree on the backups.
I recently invested in new ischia/calmadoli from sourdo.com—I left the ischia jar to warm in the recently used oven for a couple hours; my daughter then turned on the oven again to bake, and that was that.. i had forgot to backup. :-[ amazingly, the heavy, sealed jar did not crack.

Offline Rolls

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Re: Trouble with my SD culture.
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2018, 01:04:52 PM »
I would not use the "back up" starter in the fridge if it's been your practice to feed it only once a month.  Start anew.


Rolls
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Offline Heikjo

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Re: Trouble with my SD culture.
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2018, 01:45:56 AM »
When my starter begins to smell “vinegary”- acetic acid developing if I’m not mistaken- i “wash” it and that usually brings things back into balance.
I often see people talk about washing a starter, but what does that really mean?
-Heine. Mostly Neapolitan sourdough pizzas in an electric Effeuno P134H.

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Offline vtsteve

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Re: Trouble with my SD culture.
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2018, 09:34:04 AM »
Washing is a series of highly-diluted feeds, the idea being that the desirable organisms are better adapted for life in the culture, and if you disrupt the undesirables, the good guys will have a better chance of re-establishing themselves (and fending off the rebound of the bad guys).

Mumble mumble biofilm, mumble quorum sensing, handwave...   :)


The highest I go in a normal feed is 1:5:5; I personally consider 1:20:20, once a day to be the start of washing territory. It's kind of a last resort; there's no guarantee that you'll wind up with the original population ratios when it settles back down. It's like restarting from scratch but with a bias toward your desired organisms. If I need to do it again I'll probably add a little pineapple juice for baseline acidity, to help suppress the contaminating organisms.

A few days of 1:5:5 every 8 hours, kept warm, is usually enough to straighten mine out if I've neglected it. Not really a full wash, more of a cleanse.  :-D
In grams we trust.
My wood-fired NY thread: Pizza Thursday

Offline Heikjo

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Re: Trouble with my SD culture.
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2018, 10:39:04 AM »
Thanks, Steve. I've been feeding my starter 1:5:5 (5g:25g:25g) or 1:10:10 as my normal routine for quite a while and it's been working fine until recently when it's gotten too soupy and lacking elasticity. The starter and doughs is lacking in resistance and is all runny. I started using that routine since I usually feed it in the evening and use the next morning. Is there any problems using this as a normal feeding routine?

I wonder if some new bacteria has taken residency in my starter, so I'm trying to feed it 2-3 times a day to see if it gets better. Worst case I'll have to make a new one.
-Heine. Mostly Neapolitan sourdough pizzas in an electric Effeuno P134H.

Offline vtsteve

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Re: Trouble with my SD culture.
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2018, 12:33:28 AM »
As long as the starter recovers between feeds, it's OK... if you feed too aggressively for a while, you can dilute it too far (the desired organisms don't recover before the next feed, acidity falls too low), and the bad guys can get a foothold.

Depending on temperature I might feed 2-3 times a day, but really I'm looking for it to start to collapse before I feed. When the house starts cooling down in the fall and I'm between bakes, I end up feeding less frequently. If I need to build it up in a hurry it goes in the warm cabinet over the fridge and gets fed more, and more often.
In grams we trust.
My wood-fired NY thread: Pizza Thursday

Offline hotsawce

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Re: Trouble with my SD culture.
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2018, 01:56:42 PM »
I've found my starter actually does best with a 1:1:1 feed every 24h. In the past, I've tried washes with inoculation as low as 1:20:20 and the 1:1:1 just works best for mine. You might need to experiment to see what works best for you.

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