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Ok, the sourdough starters and I have a love / hate relationship at this point.  And by that I mean that I love to hate them.  Don't worry, I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual.  I thought I got them out of their funk by overachieving as a starter mom and being very vigilant in feeding every night and feeding a ratio higher than that of reserved starter.  But they have misbehaved again with a distinct acetone smell instead of something more pleasantly unpleasant.  Got home from work late enough tonight that it was tomorrow instead of today.  Wasn't in the mood for their shenanigans...  They don't respond well to the mom voice like the rest of the family and coworkers for that matter.... So, I decided to feed them a ratio higher than I have tried before just to try something different and see what happens... and because frankly, I don't really care what happens anymore and may as well just do whatever I want.  LOL.  This is like getting a puppy and realizing the next day you made a horrible mistake.  Sure it might be a good dog eventually.... but man, what a lot of work to get it there.  Got to stay on top of it and do it right or you'll end up with problems all along the way.  And this doesn't even have any redeeming cute qualities to make up for all that work.  And even worse than that - it might never die.  I might have signed up for a life sentence of measuring flour and water and rinse and repeat.  

 

Pictures in the morning (or I guess later this morning) if there is anything noteworthy.  

 

I'm supposed to have a couple of days off at the end of the week, not sure if it's going to happen or not with the work situation.  If it does, these are getting parked in the fridge regardless of where I am at in the process and if they are ready for it or not.

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Here is what I have. I guess this is about 4 hours after feeding. 

 

There is definitely activity but it’s this darn acetone smell that is driving me nuts.  But I think it’s because it’s hungry.  Ravenous like an unruly teenage boy. Lol. 

 

The one with more diverse feeding.  I don’t even remember which is which at this point name wise. 

 

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And the one with more mundane feeding. 

 

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On the the bright side, I think I hit the sweet spot of just enough sleep to function again today without feeling totally exhausted. 

 

And I will look forward to supplementing what I have with what you send @Ben S.  Maybe something from your part of the world will line these rogue Wild West critters I have cultivated out and make them more civilized. 

 

Hope I get time to work more on that project soon. 

 

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I think you are right on the money and progressing nicely. Try switching containers, if I have too much dried starter at the rim fron repeated dumping of old starter I get nasty smells.  

 

How warm is your kitchen?  A 10 degree temp swing makes a huge difference in activity. 

 

Could you be confusing acetone with ethanol? After too many years as a lab rat my nose is far less sensitive to organic solvents. 

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Ok, because I like to site my sources:

 

http://www.breadmatters.com/sourdough-FAQ

 

this says the smell is nothing to concern yourself with, it is most likely acetic acid, a product of fermentation.  

 

I like to get a starter going with whole grains, a better environment for natural yeast. But I prefer the flavors of bread made from a starter that is 100 % AP flour.  

 

I dont buy that we have different strains of natural yeast. The flavors you get are a product of temp, time, and the flour used.  All three of those variables play a role in fermentation pathways any flavor compounds produced. 

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12 minutes ago, Ben S said:

I think you are right on the money and progressing nicely. Try switching containers, if I have too much dried starter at the rim fron repeated dumping of old starter I get nasty smells.  

 

How warm is your kitchen?  A 10 degree temp swing makes a huge difference in activity. 

 

Could you be confusing acetone with ethanol? After too many years as a lab rat my nose is far less sensitive to organic solvents. 

 

It may not look like it, but those were clean containers. I have been switching every 3-4 days max. 

 

Kitchen is probably around 70 degrees I am guessing. But we had a cold snap over the weekend and I refuse to flip the thermostat back over to heat at this point. 

 

All I know is it smells like a nail salon which I can’t stand when I pop the lids at time. Super unappealing.  I’m sure I could be confusing it with anything. 

 

I’ll take a look at that article you linked. 

 

If if I ever get to the point of baking something I’ll try using both starters to compare (just because I feel like I should) and then just ditch one.  

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I’m wondering if might be discarding too much starter and adding too much new flour and water. Somewhere between equal parts old starter, flour, and water and 1 part starter to 2 parts each of flour and water ought to be your target feeding routine.

 

If there’s too much flour and water added, the critters won’t get a foothold before the next feeding, and too little would starve the starter. 

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31 minutes ago, Chris Topher said:

I’m wondering if might be discarding too much starter and adding too much new flour and water. Somewhere between equal parts old starter, flour, and water and 1 part starter to 2 parts each of flour and water ought to be your target feeding routine.

 

If there’s too much flour and water added, the critters won’t get a foothold before the next feeding, and too little would starve the starter. 

 

So the strong smell seemed to subside when I increased from equal parts starter flour and water more towards the 2 parts flour and water to one part starter and made sure not to miss any feedings. I don’t think I have exceeded that ratio in feeding. Even last night when I thought I was being aggressive I didn’t exceed it.  I do think I wasn’t feeding it enough for awhile.... and like you said I was “starving the starter”. 

 

 

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