The Fresh Loaf

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Hooch after only a few hours

Louise90's picture

Hooch after only a few hours

I'm attempting to make a new starter, however hooch is starting to develop after only a few hours.

I tried using a different jar & using filtered water vs out of the tap, but still the hooch develops.

Any thoughts on why this might be happening??

idaveindy's picture

What are you making a new starter from?  Are you starting your starter from someone's dehydrated culture?

Are you starting with someone else's firm starter (biga), or liquid/batter type of starter?  

Are you starting with plain flour and water and trying to pull yeast out of the air?

What is your formula?  How much flour (and what kind) and how much water? Are you measuring by volume or by weight?  And what else are you adding?

Have you tasted the "hooch" and confirmed it is alcoholic?  Or are you merely seeing a liquid and assuming it is hooch?  If you used too much water, the water can separate in a few hours and come to the top. 

Louise90's picture

I'm using 150g plain white flour to 100g water at room temp. No dehydrated culture.

Could I be using too much water/can you recommend a ratio?

idaveindy's picture

That's a firm dough.  So I'm at a loss as to what's happening.

Where did you find instructions on how to make a starter?  Could you give the URL please?

Where are you placing this when the hooch appears?  Room temp, or in the refrigerator? Covered or uncovered?

And, so I know how to communicate better, what country are you currently located in, and please confirm what your native language (mother tongue) is.  I don't want to use American colloquialisms if you are in or from another country.  (I'm in the US,  a native English-speaker, and have a very Asperger-ish communication style.)

So to be clear,,, you mix 150 g fresh plain white flour, 100 g fresh water, and within a few hours, a liquid appears over it?  How much liquid?  A few drops, or what?


SourdoughSA's picture

When i started a new culture, i used rye/brown flour with the white flour....on a 80% white to a 20% brown/rye....some bakers first start with rye or brown and then later they switch to white only......the bacteria is more present in rye and brown then in white.......and i normally first make a 100% liq culture...and from that i build it up to a stiff culture.....

pmccool's picture

It won’t necessarily provide an immediate diagnosis but would help us understand what your starter looks like. 


Jeff in Trees's picture
Jeff in Trees

Pardon my ignorance...

Hooch?  Your starter is turning into bootleg alcohol??

What does this mean?



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And just turned 90 too!  Happy Birthday!

About that starter ratio... sure that was 150g flour?  It sounds more like it was a mixture of 100g flour and 150g of water.  Easy to mix it up.  That would explain the water separating and flour sinking to the bottom.  No biggie but it isn't hooch.  Even hooch takes days or weeks but not hours.  

What to do. Well it's been a few days now. If it looks cruddy on top, carefully pour off the yucky stuff and then set the jar of baby starter on the scales.  Tare to "0" then double the volume with water and note the weight.  Now add the same weight in flour and give a good stirring.  It should be much thicker than the first time. Watch and smell carefully over the next 24 hours.  Be sure to keep it in a warm spot out of drafts at about 75°F to 78°F and cover loose enough to prevent drying and tight enough to keep out insects yet let any gasses building up escape.

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