I finished the last of the flour I was using for the starter before the feed on Day 3. So I started a new packet. Even though I opened another packet of the same brand and type of flour, it was incredible the impact using different flour had on the developing starter (and even on my existing starter which I used and fed with the new flour!). It didn’t rise as much as I anticipated, and the smell was also different (but within the realms of the expected). This is something to be aware of when establishing or maintaining a sourdough starter: changing flour can impact the microbial in the starter and change its characteristics quite noticeably.
100g plain flour (I use organic flour)
100g water (tepid)
Weigh ingredients and place in the glass container with the starter from yesterday. Mix with a fork until all lumps are gone.
Look: Before feeding, the starter had not quite doubled in size since the last feed. Larger bubbles were present throughout the mix and the top looked frothy.
After feeding, it had a smooth appearance.
Feel: The starter was again runny at feeding time. If you needed to, it would be easy to pour the near-liquid into another container at this stage.
Some starters, at this point in their maturity, get a webby texture and are quite elastic in consistency. I have only had this happen when I’ve left a starter in warm conditions without feeding it for two to three days. But if yours does develop a webby texture, it is nothing to worry about. Just feed it as usual.
After feeding, the consistency of the starter was still that of a runny paste.
Smell: The starter had developed a sour apple smell. Not a ‘bad’ smell, just unexpected. When I fed the new flour to my mature starter, it also developed the same smell. This suggests that even though I was using the same brand and type of flour, it was a different batch with different yeasts, and so led to a change in the microbial composition of my starter. Again, nothing to worry about so long as the starter doesn’t develop colourful growths or begin to smell ‘bad’.
Taste: The starter had a sharp, not-quite-vinegary taste with undertones of baked bread.