The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Honey Starter Questions

Blizzahd's picture

Honey Starter Questions

Hi everyone,

I have just begun my first sourdough honey starter.  I am 3 days into it and on day 2 and 3 I have woken up to a solid layer of hooch on top.  The recipe I used is from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads.  It is as follows...


2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

2 1/2 cups warm water

2 Tbs Honey (I am a beekeeper and this is from my hives)

2 1/2 cups AP flour

Combine all ingredients, cover with towel and let ferment for 5 days stirring once daily.


The questions I have are..

1) Should I be feeding the starter before the 5th day

2) Is the hooch appearing a normal and healthy thing?

3) Is there a way to figure out the hydration of this starter?


The starter has a nice yeasty smell and bubbles nicely indicating to me it is active and living.

Thanks in advance


cranbo's picture

I will hazard some answers here:

1. If you have hooch, yes I would absolutely feed it now. (see #2)

2. Hooch is normal; it is alcohol, the byproduct of yeast that have been busy eating all of their food. A lot of hooch means there might not be a lot of food left. 

3. Because you measure by volume, it's tough to figure out the exact hydration (flour will weigh differently depending on its moisture content). 

White flour can weigh 120-140g, depending on how you scoop it and how dry it is. Typical is 125g. 

Water weighs ~ 236g for 1 cup. 

  • 2.5c * 125g = 312.5g flour
  • 2.5c * 236g = 590g water

590/312.5 = 1.888, aka 188.8% hydration.  

FYI, because you're using commercial yeast in your starter, it will behave differently from a natural sourdough starter, that is, it will grow much much faster. 

Blizzahd's picture

Thanks for confirming my thoughts

I have now broken the starter down into 3 seperate containers with 256g of starter, flour, and water per container. (done by weight not by volume) I even made one of them whole wheat.


cross your fingers :)