The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Grey-ish water floating on top of my sourdough starter?

jettgirl24's picture

Grey-ish water floating on top of my sourdough starter?

Hi Everyone,

I have sourdough starter that I got going about 3 weeks ago. Everything looked fine and it smelled perfect so I moved it to the fridge. I wanted to bake a couple of loaves this weekend but when I pulled it out of the fridge it had a layer of water on top that was kind of a weird color... Almost a greyish color? No fuzz anywhere though, I've been good about keeping the container scraped clean to prevent mold. Last year was my first time trying to make sourdough starter but I don't recall it doing this. It smells just fine and looks normal when I stir it up.

Just wondering if it's safe to go ahead and bake with it or should I toss it and start over?

 Thansk for your input!

fishman's picture

You can pour off the liquid or mix in the starter. 

mrfrost's picture

It's hooch. It's normal.

Search box: hooch

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ananda's picture


That's the bad news; the good news is you don't need to throw it away either.

Just keep back a small amount, but throw the rest out, and refresh that with more flour and water.   Keep to the normal proportions of flour and water to give you stiff levain, or wet.   Use twice as much flour to the small amount of levain retained.   Keep in a warm room [say 26*C], covered, and feed every 8 hours, or when you are happy that the fermentation has peaked, at least twice, before you think about using it.   It just needs a bit of tlc, and it will work fine.

Best wishes


GAPOMA's picture

As stated above, it's hooch.  I too see it if I leave my starter in the fridge for a while. Like you, when I first started keeping starter I questioned whether my starter had gone bad. 

Good news is your starter is (or will be) fine.  Just stir the liquid back into the starter, then refeed as usual.  Use the refed starter to make bread, or put it back in the fridge for another day.

diverpro94's picture

Easy fix!