The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help, lots of hooch on top?

rileybri's picture

Help, lots of hooch on top?


So first I should state that I am new to sour dough and starters. I had followed refrigerating instructions given to me by the friend who provided the mother to begin with. Upon removing the starter from the fridge I fed it whisked it and left if with a loose lid on the counter to rise and come to room temp. Is this normal? What do I do with the hooch? any advise or help would be great. I have attached a photo of the hooch production in a little over 10 hours. 

Jw's picture

it is normal. but I just take out 2/3 of a cup for a loaf-to-be (SF sourdough). then add some new flour /water to the jar and put it pack in the fridge.

depending on the needed hydration, I either take away the hooch or mix it though. Either way works for me. you could test these options and see what works best for you.


rileybri's picture

1 cup HW flower to 1 1/4 cups tepid H2O then use a whisk to combine.  I am using a 1 gallon mason jar for storage. 

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

My hooch is underneath the starter, not on top.

My advice about hooch is: don't drink it!

Yumarama's picture

You say you use 1 c flour and 1.25c water but not how much starter you had before you added these. 

Your ratio of flour to water is also really wet, you're looking at about 120g of flour to 285 g of water, or a bit over 200% hydration. You're going to find it a bit difficult to locate sourdough recipes that require starter that wet. Most want either a 100% hydration starter or a stiff starter at about 66% or so.

With a starter this wet, that may actually just be the flour and water separating, not "hooch".

Hootch will usually be a sign of very hungry starter but that's not likely the case here.

Lastly, unless you're baking a HUGE LOT of bread, you really do not need this much starter. You'd do just as well with a total of about a half cup starter after feeding which you could easily keep in a 1 pint mason jar. This also means when you take out the excess, you won't be throwing out cups of flour.

How long has your friend been keeping their starter? 

rileybri's picture

Thank you this is helpful. I was thinking it was looser than I wanted. I just mixed the liquid back into the mother (turned out a bit looser than cake batter) and used 1/2 c to start my spurge for tomorrows SD adventure. I think I will take about a cup of it out and work in a smaller jar. and pass on the remanning to friends. The starter/mother is OLD. at lest 4th gen in her fam hear in the states and they have no idea when it was started in Holland where her ancestors were bakers. 

nicodvb's picture

I use equal weights of levain, flour and milk and the new levain becomes a kind of yogurth that doesn't hooch, not even after a couple of months.

rileybri's picture

So I wen the mix it back in rout and use it, fed it, and placed it back in the fridge till I need it later in the week. On saturday I started the sponge and let it go for approximately 20h fermentation (figured I would know sooner than later if it was no good cuz I would wind up with paste not sponge) well it was looking very much alive and ready so I began the bread making process I am still new and playing with the shaping and folding process as much as anything. After watching several tutorials I did two folding sessions during the first 2 hr. proof. one 45 min in and one 25 min later. The result was great volume and two nice sized balls of dough. one I made into a bollard and the other made into a boule (I apologize for spelling). Again I played with the shaping techniques. In the end I am very happy with the final product. 

Thank you everyone for all of you help. This has been so much fun and I look forward to baking even better breads in the future.