What to Do With Liquid on Top of Sourdough Starter

What to Do With Liquid on Top of Sourdough Starter

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A sourdough starter is required for producing sourdough bread. If you’re new to the entire feeding process that goes along with making a sourdough starter, you may worry if you see liquid at the top of your jar. What exactly is going on here?

The liquid on top of the sourdough starter is innocuous and may be mixed in with the rest of the ingredients. This liquid, known as hooch, is generated when your sourdough starter runs out of nourishment.

You can fix this by adding extra flour and water or switching to a different variety of flour.

Hello there! My name is Shea, and I come from a sourdough family. We adore it for toast, grilled cheese, paninis, and anything else you can think of! Since we are such great fans, I knew I had to learn how to prepare sourdough bread properly.

I found hooch and how to get rid of it along the road.

Learn how to get rid of liquid on top of your sourdough starter.

Why Is There Liquid On Top of My Sourdough Starter?

Don’t be alarmed if you see liquid on top of your sourdough starter. This is a very typical problem that affects both beginner and experienced sourdough bread makers.

This liquid is known as hooch, and it is completely harmless as long as it is not pink, red, or orange and does not have a strong odor. (Gray, black, and brown tones are excellent.)

Hooch happens when your sourdough starter hasn’t been fed in a long time. Basically, the yeast was allowed to ferment for an inordinate amount of time. As a result, the yeast has produced an alcohol byproduct, which is visible at the top of your sourdough starter.

Simply said, it is not damaged; it is just hungry.

What to Do About Liquid on Top of Sourdough Starter

A easy repair is to pour liquid on top of the sourdough. Just swirl the hooch into your sourdough starter and continue feeding as normal. After combining the hooch back into the other components, add new food (flour and water). This produces the greatest outcomes.

Some individuals may feel uneasy stirring the hooch back into the sourdough starter, particularly if it has an unusual color, such as dark brown or gray. In such circumstances, drain the hooch and scrape off the top layer of the starting before giving it new food.

Remember that removing the hooch can affect the hydration levels, which may be tough to correct, particularly if you’re fresh to the world of sourdough starters.

Hooch will also provide an additional sourness to your sourdough bread, which is quite tasty. Therefore, it is preferable to avoid removing it. Reintroduce it to the starter.

4 Ways to Avoid Hooch in the Future

While hooch isn’t a huge problem, you don’t want it resting on your sourdough starter day after day. Fortunately, there are a few smart strategies to prevent future hooch mishaps.

1. Stick to a Regular Feeding Schedule

Since liquid on top of your sourdough starter is directly caused by insufficient feeding, it is important to keep to a regular feeding schedule.

A daily feed is sufficient for reviving your sourdough starter after a liquid breakdown, however some bakers prefer two feedings every day to avoid mistakes.

2. Add More Food

If you have a sourdough starter that is hangry rather than hungry, you may need to feed it more.

Although most sourdough starter recipes call for a 1:1:1 ratio (old starter, water, flour), you may want to try a 1:2:2 ratio. By feeding extra food, you may ensure that your starting will not get hungry and that no hooch will form.

(If you have a reoccurring hooch issue despite maintaining a regular feeding plan, you may need to increase to a 1:3:3. Some sourdough starter is really delicious!)

3. Use a Different Flour

Some sourdough starts tolerate all-purpose flour, whereas others do not. If you want to have consistent success with your sourdough starter, try using one of these top five sourdough starter flours:

  • Flour for Bread (Top Pick)
  • Flour made from rye (Runner-Up)
  • Flour spelled correctly
  • White Flour
  • Flour made from rice

Try one of these excellent choices, and you will instantly notice the difference.

4. Place in a Cooler Location

The recommended storage temperature for a sourdough starter is between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you keep the temperature at 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the fermentation process will speed up, resulting in liquid on top of the sourdough starter.

Although you want this to happen, keeping up with the quantity of food your sourdough starting consumes may be difficult.

To slow down the process, raise the temperature to 70°F. This slows the fermentation process, resulting in fewer feeds and less hooch.


While it may seem strange, moisture on top of a sourdough starter is nothing to be concerned about. It’s completely normal and pretty frequent. If you want to understand more about this subject, see the frequently asked questions below.

Should you pour off liquid from the sourdough starter?

It is important to avoid draining fluids from your sourdough starter. This may have an impact on water levels and make feeding and fermentation difficult. To get the greatest results, add the liquid back into your sourdough starter.

Why does my sourdough starter have dark liquid on top?

If you discover a black liquid on top of your sourdough starter, you have the same problem: hooch. While the dark hue may be unsettling, it is acceptable. Stir it with the rest of your starter and go from there.

Can I drink sourdough hooch?

Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with consuming booze. Why, however, would you want to? I wouldn’t suggest it unless you’re desperate for a drink. It’s unlikely to taste nice, and you risk destroying your sourdough starter entirely.

Should I stir my sourdough starter?

Every time you feed your sourdough starter, you should stir it (once or twice daily).

Final Words

It is usual to put liquid on top of sourdough starter. Hooch is an alcohol byproduct that is left behind when a sourdough starter gets hungry. To prevent future liquid disasters, mix it back into the starting and keep to a regular feeding schedule.

Have you ever discovered water on your sourdough starter? What did you make of it? Did you utilize any of these suggestions? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


What do you do if your sourdough starter has liquid on top?

The liquid that forms on the top of your starter when it hasn’t been fed in a while is known as “hooch.” This liquid is the alcohol produced by wild yeast fermentation. The presence of booze does not indicate that your starter is in danger. It does, however, signal that your starting is hungry and need feeding.

Should I discard liquid on top of sourdough starter?

The black liquid is a naturally occurring alcohol called hooch, and it tells that your sourdough starter is hungry. Hooch is OK to drink, but it should be drained off and discarded before churning and feeding your starting.

How do you fix a soupy sourdough starter?

If your started is excessively watery, add additional flour when you feed it the following time. If it becomes too thick, add extra water with the next meal. Continue to explore and experiment until you get the optimum sourdough starter texture and thickness (which, for me, is the consistency of pancake batter).

How do I know if I ruined my sourdough starter?

The key way to tell whether a sourdough starter is still good is if it continues to rise and fall after being fed new flour and water. If it does, that means it’s still alive!

Why is my sourdough starter hooch but no bubbles?

If a sourdough starter isn’t bubbly, it may need to be fed more often. Feeding every 12 hours should be reduced to every 8-10 hours to ensure the culture gets adequate nourishment. Examine the temperature in the cultivation region. Sourdough prefers a constant temperature of 70°F to 85°F.

Why does my sourdough starter have a layer of water in the middle?

This liquid is known as hooch, and it formed after your sourdough starter has depleted its food supply. It’s a sign that your beginning is starving!

Does hooch make sourdough more sour?

To have a more sour loaf, keep the hooch.

Many bakers discard the hooch that forms on top of sourdough starter. This brownish liquid, which forms after the starting runs out of food, is rich in sour smells. To give your bread an additional sour taste, mix it directly back into the starter during feedings.

Can you use sourdough discard with hooch?

If your trash produces hooch, you may either mix it in if you prefer the sour taste or drain it out before using. There is no need to prepare room temperature sourdough waste; it is ready to use when you are.

What happens if you don t discard half of sourdough starter?

If it is not nourished, mold and bacteria might develop. At such moment, a starter should be removed and the game restarted. Any pink, orange, or grey hue should be eliminated, and a fresh beginning created. A sourdough starter has a tangy flavor, but it should never have a nasty odor.

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