After finally managing to cultivate a starter able to produce successful loaves, I've been storing it in the fridge and feeding it once a week by discarding half and adding equal weights of (white) flour and water. I noticed that the starter was becoming thicker and it dawned on me that I've been pouring away the thin layer of hooch that accumulates on top, without adding extra water to compensate.
I have been trawling through the starter pages on this site trying to find information on how to resurrect my starter. So much fantastic and helpful information. thanks.
The most common question I hear about sourdough starters is how to create one. There are a lot of good threads on that here, and many people have reported success with one or another of the methods described in these pages.
The question I hear next most often is, "Did I kill my starter?" This usually happens because the starter has turned a funky color, and maybe started to smell funny, after being either underfed or neglected.
I'm relatively new here and learning a lot! And having fun, too. So, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
As a new member, I want to off my 2 cents worth on hooch and get some opinions.
I suggest you always pour off the hooch to prevent making the sourdough bitter. Here is my line of thought.
Yeast produces alcohol and in sourdough, it is the clear or off color liquid we all know as "hooch". Part of this hooch is dead yeast cells that have died for various reasons, including being exposed to too much alcohol, lack of food and just old age..
Well, I finally arrived back in my kitchen and I am ready to go (unfortuantely I have a bunch of work I have to get done before I can even think about baking). But of course I was very excited to see the condition of my starter - and I want to refresh it so that hopefully I can work with it tomorrow.
It smells fresh, but it looks like potato soup with about 1/4 or so of clear liquid on top - I think it is called the 'hooch'?