When you start a starter with whole grain flour there are many microorganisms on and in the flour. And you mentioned not putting it in the refrigerator, do I ever have to refrigerate it? When a high hydration dough is refrigerated for final rise, it blooms and goes slack within 8 hours. … I feel like, more often than not, the issue is under-hydrated—meaning you didn't put enough water into the dough. The hydration of the starter. Stiffer starters tend to smell a little bit more of tropical fruit. The three ways of starting a starter here have all been battle tested and refined by input from people who had trouble with the process or places where we could have been more clear on the instructions. That is a new reduced-quantity feeding protocol to use since flour is in such short supply. I mean, I don't have people coming to me and saying, “oh man, my bread was so light and fluffy!” It’s usually “my bread’s not bubbly, what’s going on?”. The change in smell may be due to introduction of 100% non-organic strong wholemeal flour as the daily feed a week ago. I prefer to weigh my ingredients because volume measurements of flour are very inconsistent. I took 5% of the original and have been feeding my new one twice a day with just white flour now for 3 days. We have found the same sorts of bacteria are in the succession for sauerkraut as with sourdough. For example: When fed, it will triple in 2 hours or less. Yes, it’s academic, and I wasn’t very descriptive…. So the bread never got enough gas in it to actually rise up into an airy loaf. A friend tells me that his rye flour has aromas in it like over-ripe apples. I advise against this course of action, due to the simple fact that the essence of a starter doesn't ever die - it just gets out of balance. At this point it’s unclear to me what happens. Patience is key. Great to hear from you. You shouldn't be surprised. If your dough is too stiff, basically that means it’s resistant to being blown up by the yeast. When you feed a starter enough to double, or triple, it’s weight twice a day it gets very large, very fast. Especially if it keeps you from going down the wrong rabbit hole and wasting a month or more, as some people have done. It’ll be really interesting to see if there’s a noticeable difference in flavor. If you find a liquid layer on the top, it could be alcohol produced by yeast or it could mean your starter is too watery. My husband is laughing at the amount of flour I’ve used this past month and the fact that I still haven’t baked a loaf of bread! This became a family of worms' multiple lunches. it suffocates, and you get that strong acetic acid smell. This is the most common type of sourdough starter. However, I've had starters that were in serious trouble develop pronounced acetone aromas. Remember that the culture bacteria in the sourdough never dies, so you do not need to through it out and start over again. Hi Jenna, But it's really hard to appreciate how long it takes. (And the Beatles would add Love, but that;s not for sourdough.). Hi, thanks for the helpful advice. We talk about the procession of microorganisms in a blog post about sauerkraut und sauerteig and even name names. It's challenging, you know, you can't expect to have never handled sourdough before, and jump right in and be really good at it. What temperature is the bulk proof at? -__-. This happens when: you don't feed it, and the micro culture of yeasts, bacteria and fungi and enzymes begin to break the structure of the food (flour) into its component parts, liquid, solid, and waste. To recap what we discussed in the sourdough starter primer, flour has a wide range of bacteria and yeast on it. My gut instinct is he's pretty weak at the moment... More question and few answers!