Last Updated on January 27, 2023
What should sourdough starter smell like? In most cases, it should never smell extremely vinegary-like nail polish remover and gym socks. Remember, you are lucky enough to have a sourdough starter that still smells fresh. Even so, you can sense that it is yeasty and fruity.
Also, do not forget that a live fermented culture of water and flour is a sourdough starter. When it turns active and bubbly, you add a bit of it to your recipe. For this reason, you no longer need to use commercial yeast to make it rise. Let's find out the answer to "what should sourdough starter smell like?"
What Should Sourdough Starter Smell Like?
So, what should sourdough starter smell like? Essentially, fresh sourdough starters will differ from one another. In this regard, some will smell like apple cinnamon. At the same time, there will be several sourdough starters that will smell like toasted pineapple and coconuts.
Nonetheless, you will indeed find it fascinating to notice the differences. Also, it will depend on how well you stored it.
Sourdough starter problems: What should sourdough starter smell like after purchase?
First of all, a dark liquid on your sourdough starter signifies that you need to feed it. Please do not think that it is dead. And so, you can refer to it as a hooch. Also, keep in mind that a hooch is not a mold.
Moreover, you do not need to worry too much because you will usually see this on the starter's surface. As a solution, you can pour it off with some of the discolored starters underneath. After doing so, make sure to feed it as soon as possible.
For the most part, there are different ways to feed your sourdough starter. Because of this, it would be best to try a method that suits your starter. In most cases, be sure to provide your sourdough starter with the same flour that you use in the jar.
Also, for instance, you made your sourdough starter with all-purpose flour, so make sure to feed it with all-purpose flour. Likewise, ensure to provide it with rye flour if you made it with rye flour. In so doing, you will create a regular feeding routine. And, as a result, you will predict the rise time effortlessly.
How To Store Your Sourdough Starters Properly?
It is essential to store your sourdough starter in an airtight container. In addition to that, ensure that the container is big enough to contain the starter. Bear in mind that the starter will indeed grow since it will rise. At the least, it will double in size. Plus, it will undoubtedly burst through the container if you fail to do so, especially in a jar.
On the other hand, it is okay to use a loose cover like a cloth. In so doing, be sure it is breathable. Remember, when there is a skin-like development on the starter's surface, it indicates excessive air. To get rid of it, you can effortlessly peel it off. And that is why it is still best to choose the most fitting lid instead.
Types of sourdough starter containers
1. Glass jars
First and foremost, you can clean it effortlessly. In addition to that, you do not need to worry about any unfamiliar chemicals leaching into the sourdough starter. Plus, you can conveniently view everything inside because it is clear. With this, you can monitor it for any liquid, bubbles, and foamy stuff.
Due to the glass jar's instantaneous visual access, you can fix your starter whenever necessary. In that regard, there are various kinds of glass jars you can choose from in the store. With this, there are jam jars, latch tops, and mason jars. Not only these but also you can use canning jars with metal ring tops.
Moreover, when it comes to jar size, it is dependent on the amount of your sourdough starter. Also, be careful because the starter will grow. That is why it is best to cover it loosely with plastic wrap, a small cloth, or a lid. As a consequence of a tight cover, you will risk getting glass shards in the sourdough starter when it bursts.
2. Pint jars
An excellent alternative for glass jars is to use pint jars. The reason being is that it will come in handy whenever your glass jars are dirty. And yes, please utilize the kind of pint jars commonly used in bars. Keep in mind that they are ideal for sourdough starters.
Also, a pint jar is usually big; it can accommodate a large batch of sourdough starters. With that, please cover the top with plastic wrap or a cloth.
3. Plastic containers
First of all, the majority of plastic containers are short and wide. As a result, it won't be easy to see if the sourdough starter has doubled in size. Remember, it is a helpful guide to know when to use the starter if it doubles.
Moreover, the best thing about plastic is that it does not break as opposed to glass. Although, it only melts. That is why do not leave it on the bottom rack of the dishwasher.
Tips And Tricks: Sourdough Starters Smell Bad
Please take note that there are signs to know if your sourdough starter is ready. For one thing, it must be bubbly. Also, you can do the water test. To do so, make sure to drop a spoonful of sourdough starter into your cup of water. Because of this, you will know if it is okay to use if the sourdough rises to the top.
On the other hand, it is not ready if it sinks to the bottom. If this happens, you should feed it. Likewise, ensure that you let it sit for an ample of time. Doing so will let tiny bubbles appear.
Always remember that you can keep the sourdough starter for years once it is active and live. You can do so by placing the sourdough starter on the counter. Afterward, make sure to feed it every day. Also, it is an effective practice to use the starter weekly or bi-weekly.
Another thing you can do is store it in the refrigerator. In so doing, be sure to feed it once a week in the fridge. It will keep it alive. Besides, it is an excellent choice whenever going on vacation.
Moreover, please note that you need to take the starter out of the refrigerator for a day. In addition to that, ensure to feed it. And it would help to let it sit overnight. The main reason is that the sourdough starter needs to turn active once again. Likewise, it is best to throw out half of it. Then, add a cup of water and a cup of flour.
Read more about How To Make Sour Cream With Lemon Juice
Why Does My Sourdough Starter Have Skin on Top?
You may notice that your sourdough starter has developed a skin or crust on the top. However, if you see this do not panic as you can still use your sourdough starter. A skin or crust on top is just an indication that your sourdough has dried out a bit on the top.
If you see this happening to your sourdough starter, it is likely because too much air is getting to your starter. If your starter has skin forming, simply remove the top of the starter with the skin or crust and continue feeding it as normal.
To help prevent this from happening, you may want to use cling wrap on the top of your starter or use a tighter lid. If it continues to happen, you may need to find a new location to keep your starter.
My Sourdough Starter Smells Like Acetone: What to Do
There are a lot of variables that can affect a sourdough starter. While sourdough starter should have a fresh, yeasty, and even fruity smell, that is not always the case. However, if your sourdough starter begins to smell different than normal that is not always something to worry about as you can often fix it.
In a mature starter, the smell of acetone is an indicator that your sourdough starter needs to be fed more. So, instead of throwing it out start feeding it more. It may be more likely that your sourdough starter begins to smell like this in warmer conditions.
When this smell happens, you should begin to feed your sourdough more often. In addition, you may need to increase the amount you are giving at each feeding.
When a sourdough starter gets hungry, it produces a lot of acetic acid which creates the acetone smell. The good bacteria have eaten up all of the nutrients in the flour and become desperate to eat more. Just be sure to increase your feedings and then if need be increase the amount you feed.
Sourdough Starter Troubleshooting
Starting your own sourdough starter can be intimidating. However, by understanding these common sourdough problems you can know what to look for and how to fix them.
1. Incorrect Feedings
One of the most common causes of problems in sourdough is incorrect feedings. Incorrect feedings can cause changes in appearance and smell. However, these problems can be fixed by adjusting your feedings.
By adjusting the amount of water or flour based on the recipe you are using you can get your sourdough starter back on track. Try your best to be consistent with feedings. For best results weigh out your feedings and use equal parts water and flour unless otherwise stated in your recipe.
Temperature can play a big factor in your sourdough starter. Sourdough starters usually do fine in cool temperatures, such as being kept at room temperature or even in the fridge in some cases. However, if your sourdough starter is exposed to hot temperatures it will likely kill it.
If you haven't fed your sourdough starter in a while, it may develop a hooch. A hooch is a liquid that collects at the top of your sourdough starter and while it doesn't necessarily mean that you need to throw away your starter, it does mean it needs to be fed.
It is normal for the hooch to be clear or even gray, brown, or black. However, if there is any pink or orange coloration it is a sign your sourdough starter has gone bad and you need to throw it away.
What Should Sourdough Starter Smell Like? What to Know
Before you start your own, you should know what should sourdough starter smell like. Ideally, a sourdough starter should smell fresh, yeasty, and fruity. However, your sourdough starter may smell like acetone or vinegar, which is a sign that you need to feed it more.
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