Sourdough (rec.food.sourdough) Discussing the hobby or craft of baking with sourdough. We are not just a recipe group, Our charter is to discuss the care, feeding, and breeding of yeasts and lactobacilli that make up sourdough cultures.

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Old 16-01-2004, 11:51 PM
Maria
 
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Default long-term storage of starter

I live in Australia, where we have warm and humid summers. Lately I have
found that every time I perfect a starter, after a few months it gets mouldy
and needs to be thrown out, and a new one started.

Does anyone have tips for storing a sample of starter at its peak, to revive
when the others have gone "off"?

Thanks

Jenny



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Old 17-01-2004, 06:35 AM
Samartha Deva
 
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Default long-term storage of starter

Maria wrote:

I live in Australia, where we have warm and humid summers. Lately I have
found that every time I perfect a starter, after a few months it gets mouldy
and needs to be thrown out, and a new one started.


Getting moldy is not perfect and probably not the starter's fault
either. Since it seems to be a repeatable affair, the cause could
probably be narrowed down.


Does anyone have tips for storing a sample of starter at its peak, to revive
when the others have gone "off"?


I would not recommend to store a starter "at it's peak", but way before
that.

To clarify "peak": The number of total organisms possible alive in a
particular media, also called "ripe".

Note, that this is different from vitality or vigor i. e. the high
ability of organisms to grow and multiply rapidly. You definitely want
to have a starter with high vitality. To peak under this aspect is
desirable.

Putting a live starter into "storage", the best stage is probably right
in phase 2:

http://samartha.net/SD/SourdoughDefinition.html#GC

That way, there is lots of food and growth potential left to be "used
up" during storage.

You don't disclose any more details, how you store your starter, so
there are many possibilities - useless speculation is one.

Just for simplification, let's assume you had a good starter and left it
out, uncovered for a few month and it grew mold. I'd say, this is normal
and not very exciting at all.

As for your starter mold. That's not a reason to toss it and start over
from scratch. At least you could give it a try and see if it can be
rescued.

I recently had nice gray mold growing. I took some from the starter
underneath the mold, grew it and made bread from it. It was fine. Reason
for my mold was probably spores leaking through a contaminated lid seal,
drying out of starter surface and with that, the mold could probably get
a hold. That's a guess at this point.

Just out of curiosity - did you put your starter in the fridge with a
leaking lid and had some blue cheese in your fridge as well?

If you have a fridge, I am sure there is a way to keep a starter
sleeping healthy, even if in hot and humid Australian climate.

Samartha




--
remove -nospam from my email address, if there is one
SD page is the http://samartha.net/SD/
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Old 17-01-2004, 11:50 AM
Kim Grauballe
 
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Default long-term storage of starter

Beware, some moulds produce toxins, and often they go much deeper than is
visible.

"Samartha Deva" wrote in message
...
snip
As for your starter mold. That's not a reason to toss it and start over
from scratch. At least you could give it a try and see if it can be
rescued.

I recently had nice gray mold growing. I took some from the starter
underneath the mold, grew it and made bread from it. It was fine.
snip



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Old 17-01-2004, 04:43 PM
Ernie
 
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Default long-term storage of starter

I had an uncle who found some Grey mould growing on a piece of
bread. He turned it into a starter and baked bread with it for
years. He said it made great bread.
Ernie

"Samartha Deva" wrote

in message
snip
I recently had nice gray mold growing. I took some from the

starter
underneath the mold, grew it and made bread from it. It was

fine.


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Old 17-01-2004, 05:09 PM
Samartha Deva
 
Posts: n/a
Default long-term storage of starter

Ernie wrote:

I had an uncle who found some Grey mould growing on a piece of
bread. He turned it into a starter and baked bread with it for
years. He said it made great bread.
Ernie


Yeah, but the molds have spore bodies and the yeasts in sourdough are
generally not sporulating, and with no spore bodies showing and bread
not getting moldy earlier than "normal", the moldies have probably died
out. Your uncle's experience is probably another proof about the
versatility and forgiveness of sourdough: almost anything goes and the
source of many tales and religious wars.

Samartha





--
remove -nospam from my email address, if there is one
SD page is the http://samartha.net/SD/


  #6 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 17-01-2004, 10:42 PM
Maria
 
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Default long-term storage of starter

Thanks for your insights.

I will go into more detail: I had 2 starters, 1 that I have had now for
about 8 years (very sad to have to lose it), and another that my husband
started about 6 months ago. My husband's went mouldy about a month ago, and
mine a few weeks later. Note, I am careful not to let them contaminate each
other. We alternate, each gets used once every week or two. I feed them
all-purpose flour and rainwater.

I store my starter in jars in the fridge. They seal well as far as I know,
but maybe not well enough? I DO have blue cheese in the fridge, so you may
be right.I had actually thought that the mould spores might be in the flour
itself.

In the past I have had the occasional mouldy spot on the edge of the jar,
but they did not touch the starter and it was fine (I just put the starter
into a new clean sterilised jar). This time the starter itself is mouldy,
I tried to revive the starters several times before tossing them, but seems
that I was cultivating mould as well. And it makes the bread taste mouldy.

With my new starter, I think I might try sterilising the flour and water
before feeding (thanks again for the tip in a previous message, Samartha).

What I wanted to do was to store a sample (dried? frozen?) of good starter
that I could revive if all else failed.

Thanks

Jenny

"Samartha Deva" wrote in message
...
Maria wrote:

I live in Australia, where we have warm and humid summers. Lately I

have
found that every time I perfect a starter, after a few months it gets

mouldy
and needs to be thrown out, and a new one started.


Getting moldy is not perfect and probably not the starter's fault
either. Since it seems to be a repeatable affair, the cause could
probably be narrowed down.


Does anyone have tips for storing a sample of starter at its peak, to

revive
when the others have gone "off"?


I would not recommend to store a starter "at it's peak", but way before
that.

To clarify "peak": The number of total organisms possible alive in a
particular media, also called "ripe".

Note, that this is different from vitality or vigor i. e. the high
ability of organisms to grow and multiply rapidly. You definitely want
to have a starter with high vitality. To peak under this aspect is
desirable.

Putting a live starter into "storage", the best stage is probably right
in phase 2:

http://samartha.net/SD/SourdoughDefinition.html#GC

That way, there is lots of food and growth potential left to be "used
up" during storage.

You don't disclose any more details, how you store your starter, so
there are many possibilities - useless speculation is one.

Just for simplification, let's assume you had a good starter and left it
out, uncovered for a few month and it grew mold. I'd say, this is normal
and not very exciting at all.

As for your starter mold. That's not a reason to toss it and start over
from scratch. At least you could give it a try and see if it can be
rescued.

I recently had nice gray mold growing. I took some from the starter
underneath the mold, grew it and made bread from it. It was fine. Reason
for my mold was probably spores leaking through a contaminated lid seal,
drying out of starter surface and with that, the mold could probably get
a hold. That's a guess at this point.

Just out of curiosity - did you put your starter in the fridge with a
leaking lid and had some blue cheese in your fridge as well?

If you have a fridge, I am sure there is a way to keep a starter
sleeping healthy, even if in hot and humid Australian climate.

Samartha




--
remove -nospam from my email address, if there is one
SD page is the http://samartha.net/SD/



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Old 18-01-2004, 12:57 AM
Kenneth
 
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Default long-term storage of starter

On Sun, 18 Jan 2004 08:42:36 +1000, "Maria"
wrote:

In the past I have had the occasional mouldy spot on the edge of the jar,
but they did not touch the starter and it was fine (I just put the starter
into a new clean sterilised jar). This time the starter itself is mouldy,
I tried to revive the starters several times before tossing them, but seems
that I was cultivating mould as well. And it makes the bread taste mouldy.


Howdy,

'Sorry if you have already mentioned this, but how long after the
starter goes in the fridge do you have the problem?

--
Kenneth

If you email... Please remove the "SPAMLESS."
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Old 18-01-2004, 04:48 AM
Samartha Deva
 
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Default long-term storage of starter

Thank you, that gives some more insights what is happening. I have to
admit that I am not a MB expert, just that I had mold growing recently.
What I did was to disinfect the fridge and use new containers and the
bread I did with the starters turned out fine - no mold taste (so far).
And - the container lids were not closing tight due to material stuck at
the sealing surfaces, the starter inside got dried out on the surface, I
had a cheese experiment going with gorgonzola - it all made sense.

Yours seems to be a harder case.

Interestingly, I am just reading a book on mushroom cultivation and boy,
aren't sourdoughler's lucky with sourdough. There it seems to be a
constant struggle against intrusion of other organisms and just a matter
of time until something happens, sterile everything, kids out!

The author specifies principle sources of contamination:

- cultivator
- air
- media
- tools
- inoculum
- mobile contamination units (ants, flies, mites....)

So, according to that, nothing seems to be excluded from being a
possible contamination source. Doesn't help much....

Normally, I would think that starters are generally immune from getting
infected and it seems to be true to a high degree.

Since you mentioned that your husband's starter was started fairly
recently, it may give you some indication. Starting a starter is a
"weeding out" of a lot of other organisms with the sourdough's player
remaining. One would think that at that time, any "mold" was defeated
since it did not grow initially.

If this is the case, what has changed?

Another indication is the mold you saw inside. But - mold spores are in
the air, why were they able to manifest?

Is your starter sour - i. e. tasting sour and is the sourness increasing
as you let it grow outside the fridge? Can you determine the phases of
high activity followed by a decrease of activity with increased
sourness? I would think that the starter's sourness along with the
alcohols and what else they produce should protect if the environment is
to their liking.

Now, saving starter by drying or freezing could work. There are
descriptions in the FAQ. But in any case, does that help you? Reviving a
starter either from a frozen or dried state makes it vulnerable.

I think, finding and eliminating the cause for the weakness that the
mold can infest the starter would solve the problem. It worked for 8
years, what has changed after that time period?

Good luck,

Samartha




Maria wrote:

Thanks for your insights.

I will go into more detail: I had 2 starters, 1 that I have had now for
about 8 years (very sad to have to lose it), and another that my husband
started about 6 months ago. My husband's went mouldy about a month ago, and
mine a few weeks later. Note, I am careful not to let them contaminate each
other. We alternate, each gets used once every week or two. I feed them
all-purpose flour and rainwater.

I store my starter in jars in the fridge. They seal well as far as I know,
but maybe not well enough? I DO have blue cheese in the fridge, so you may
be right.I had actually thought that the mould spores might be in the flour
itself.

In the past I have had the occasional mouldy spot on the edge of the jar,
but they did not touch the starter and it was fine (I just put the starter
into a new clean sterilised jar). This time the starter itself is mouldy,
I tried to revive the starters several times before tossing them, but seems
that I was cultivating mould as well. And it makes the bread taste mouldy.

With my new starter, I think I might try sterilising the flour and water
before feeding (thanks again for the tip in a previous message, Samartha).

What I wanted to do was to store a sample (dried? frozen?) of good starter
that I could revive if all else failed.

Thanks

Jenny


--
remove -nospam from my email address, if there is one
SD page is the http://samartha.net/SD/


--
remove -nospam from my email address, if there is one
SD page is the http://samartha.net/SD/
  #9 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 18-01-2004, 04:59 AM
Janet Bostwick
 
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Default long-term storage of starter


"Samartha Deva" wrote in message
...
Another indication is the mold you saw inside. But - mold spores are in
the air, why were they able to manifest?
Good luck,

Samartha


Possibly from the rain water the poster is using when refreshing her
starter?
Janet


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Old 23-01-2004, 11:57 PM
Feuer
 
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Default long-term storage of starter

Samartha Deva wrote:

Yours seems to be a harder case.


Maybe. Or maybe she's just not feeding her starter enough or often
enough. Mold will grow on anything if it has enough time.

David


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