Some time ago I have grown my own sourdough starter fed with 50/50 wholemeal rye & all-purpose wheat flour (with 100% hydration). It turned out great, it normally grows a bit over 2x in volume after feeding over night, and smells in a pleasantly floral way.

I had this idea, that with already established yeast culture, I could now start a second jar, where I would grow 100% all-purpose wheat flour with a bit of the 50/50 starter - so that I would end up with a fast wheat sourdough starter. I have started it last Sunday, and I could see activity in it already after 24h, with a visible volume increase (~maybe 1.5x?) and a bubbly surface. However, after I gave it a sniff after these first 24h, I immediately detected a really offending smell, which brought about association with still water in nature, like the one you can smell in swamps. I figured it might be a result of a rapid flour type change, and that new microorganisms have started multiplying in there in competition with the already established yeast culture, so I just chucked out most of it, and fed the dirty jar with a new feed of all-purpose wheat. This morning the smell is back, maybe in a slightly smaller intensity, and volume growth is around 2x already. No mold can be seen on the surface, and the color of the mixture is milky-white.

Can anyone with some experience in this area tell me, if that is a normal behaviour, with all-wheat starter just going through its kiddy-years at the moment? Or did I already mess it up, and the only real choice is to chuck it and start anew?

  • Generally that smell is the sign of a culture gone bad. But you say it's still rising? If you're still getting a good rise out of it, I'd just try cycling it a few times (that is, split, feed, and discard every couple days) and see if the smell improves.
    – FuzzyChef
    Aug 21 '18 at 0:46
  • My thoughts exactly. Thank you for re-assuring me :) Ill keep on feeding it with discards on a daily basis, and Ill see if in a week or so the bad cultures will lose to the yeast.
    – Greem666
    Aug 21 '18 at 1:38

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