Sourdough Starter – Day 3

January 25th, 2012  | Category: Bread

Sourdough Starter Crust - Day 3

Quite exciting compared to yesterday! The volume of the sourdough starter increased by almost an inch. It is very bubbly and a dark crust has formed over the top.

Smells like stinky cheese. Actually, the smell is so strong that I can’t go anywhere near it.

This means the culture is very ripe. It is time to do the first feeding.

Sourdough Starter Crust Pull - Day 3

I pull the crust back (with my nose closed), discard 80% of it, add flour & water, wipe the rim clean and put the cloth back on.

Sourdough Starter - Day 3


Recipe adapted from “Tartine Bread” by Chad Robertson


  • 125 grams (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) bread and whole wheat flour (%50-%50) blend
  • 125 grams (1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon) lukewarm water


  1. Remove crust and discard 80% of the sourdough starter.
  2. Add flour and water and mix until no lumps remain.
  3. Wipe the rim clean, cover with a clean cloth and place in a cool spot in your kitchen.
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  1. 1 - susan, australia on January 26th, 2012

    Always follow your postings with much pleasure. In fact, the east of Australia is a little lighter as a group of my friends are currently on a pilgrimage to SF based on your observations and reviews.

    The sourdough process is fascinating, isn’t it? Your photos made me reflect on the use of cloth in the kitchen. There is a satisfying purity as your white cloth contains the fermenting, smelly, fertile mix. And I remember the linen cloths used to strain jam, tomato puree and soften scones from the oven in my childhood.

    So thank you for your ‘reverie’ which must provoke similar in so many of us around the globe.

  2. 2 - Icane on January 26th, 2012

    Yikes! Sorry to say, but you should toss it.
    I’ve been baking sourdough bread for over a decade and never experienced such a discolored starter. A starter should never smell so unpleasantly that you don’t want to go near it.

  3. 3 - zorra on January 26th, 2012

    Never seen a dark crust on a sourdough starter. Your sure it is not mold? I would start over.

  4. 4 - Maureen on January 26th, 2012

    I’m filled with anticipation every time I check your blog and that starter. I’m definitely going to follow in your footsteps.

  5. 5 - Cenk on January 26th, 2012

    susan – It is fascinating indeed! Glad you’re enjoying the posts.

    Icane, zorra – You guys 100% sure? I am a few days ahead of this post and the starter is looking really good right now. It smells milky and no more dark crust.

    Maureen – Great. Let me know how yours turn out.

  6. 6 - lien on January 26th, 2012

    This is so exciting! i can’t wait to see how it turns out, good luck Cenk 🙂

  7. 7 - Valeria on January 27th, 2012

    I did the same process following Tartine method, and it was the same. Don’t worry, it’s normal for this method of creating a sourdough, so keep going. You won’t see as much of a crush and so much of a rising in the next days, as this first dramatic rising is caused by a bacteria that greate a lot of CO2. He will then die and not come back again (said in poor terms). What you’ll have left, and what you’ll see at work in the next days, are the bacteria you want.

  8. 8 - Cenk on January 27th, 2012

    Valeria – Thanks a lot for taking the time to share your experience! It was looking much better in day 5 and 6.

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