starter and flavor, silverton etc...
One of the starters I keep is exactly as in Nancy Silverton's book. It is 16 parts water : 11 parts flour by weight. Nancy claims that this ratio has been worked on to give you the tastiest ratio of acetic to lactic acid, and other flavor components.
My starter is very healthy and works great, and is fed regularly, with some refrigeration in between. Sometimes if it's going to go closer to a week, there is a small bit of liquid on the top. Not a lot, usually say a teaspoon, once it was about a tablespoon.
I have been making a habit of pouring this off, thinking of it as "toxic waste" of the little yeasties.
Then I got to wondering, am I pouring off some vinegar or something that contributes flavor? Is it alcohol or vinegar... Should I be stirring it in? Is pouring off this "waste" also pouring off taste?