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I'm very allergic to mold, among other things (all airborne, no food allergies). I also adore sourdough bread. If I were to make my own sourdough starter so I could bake sourdough regularly, would it a) be similar enough to mold to set off my allergies, or b) be likelier to attract mold than anything else in my kitchen?

  • Are you allergic to yeast? – baka Nov 2 '11 at 17:53
  • Not as far as I know? I eat bread, and bake bread, but have never had a culture growing in my kitchen. – Yamikuronue Nov 2 '11 at 18:03
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No. Sourdough culture is not a mold.

Even when the surface of your sourdough gets moldy (per Adam, above) to get moldy, it's not the kind of mold which releases spores into the air.

I speak as a severe allergy sufferer.

  • I get allergy symptoms if I sniff the starter too much. It seems to release something into the air. If not spores, I don't know what it could be. – aris May 31 at 4:21
  • Aris: psychosomatic allergy reactions are a thing. – FuzzyChef May 31 at 16:24
  • I hope you're right, because I want to sniff the starter to gauge it's state. But now I'm worried that I'll just be inhaling spores into my lungs and get a yeast infection in the lungs as a result. – aris May 31 at 17:50
  • The problem is that if you think you are, then you'll have a reaction whether it has any basis or not. Mind you, the aroma of sourdough is pretty heavy on ammonia, which is hard on the eyes and nose even if it isn't an allergen. And you could, conceivably, have an allergy to bread yeast or any of the various sourdough bacteria. – FuzzyChef May 31 at 21:20
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    I might be inhaling flour. – aris May 31 at 23:09
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Sourdough starter will grow mold if it starts going "off". If it's healthy, it will naturally prevent mold from growing, but if you forget to feed it for too long and/or the container it is in is dirty, it can start growing fuzzy stuff.

Feed your culture regularly, and transfer it into a clean container now and then, and it will be fine.

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My starter and I are cohabitating just fine, though he's staked out territory in the fridge rather than sitting on my counter. He's my new favorite hypoallergenic pet: the benefits far outweigh those of fish. Seems I was worried for nothing!

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