Hooch on a sourdough starter

Gray liquid in your starter? It’s called hooch!

Do you ever have that “oh shoot” moment as you sit and struggle to recall the last time you fed your sourdough starter?

We have all been there.

In many cases, the starter has made its way to the back of the fridge. It's hiding behind half eaten jars of salsa and relish. The busyness of life distracts you and time gets away. You may ask, “Did I kill my starter?”

We are here to tell you there is hope and all may not be lost.

Remove the lid, take a look, and have a sniff. It likely will have a gray, watery substance on top. That is called hooch. Hooch is a natural alcohol by-product of fermentation. It’s ok to either stir it in or pour it off. There is no hard and fast rule. Whenever you get hooch, and you may even when feeding it regularly, it’s just a sign it’s hungry.

Flour is a starter’s steak dinner. If there is a layer of gray on the top, clean it off with a spoon until you find some that is the color you remembered.

Next, look for mold. If it’s pretty colors like white, orange, red, pink, blue, green or anything fuzzy, throw it out, get a new, clean container and start over.

Mold is not something to mess with. Thankfully, it won’t take long to create a new starter. You can purchase a new starter here- or you can make one from scratch using this recipe.. Better safe than sorry.

If you feel like your starter is salvageable, transfer it to a new, clean container and start building it up again.

Feed it a few times with our Heritage White or Heritage Bread Blend. These flours contain the perfect amount of nutrients and accessible sugar to get your tired old starter back up and running.

If it’s not gaining strength or looks watery after a few feedings, consider adding in a little Heritage Whole Wheat Flour, Heritage Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, or Organic Fine Rye Flour.

Start feeding your starter on a regular basis, about every 12 hours. Once your starter bounces back, adjust the feeding to every one or two days.

That’s it! If the process doesn't work initially, start over with a fresh scoop of your old starter. And don’t stop believin’. You got this.

All for now,

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