Hooch but no bubbles


Hi I'm new here and very new to sourdough starters. I finally got tired of buying packets of yeast so I decided to try and make a starter myself about a week ago with white flour and water. For the first couple days there was nothing but then I noticed that liquid started forming on the top which I'm guessing would be hooch. The thing is, throughout the week hooch would always develop but I would never see any bubbles or even growth after stirring and feeding. Today I gave up and threw it out, rinsing the jar with lukewarm water and decided to try again with whole wheat flour and water. After a couple hours I looked at it and saw a thin layer of hooch. What is going on? Does this mean I'm supposed to feed it? Does the presence of hooch mean that there are yeast in the mix? I'm so confused...

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farinam's picture
farinam 2012 April 4

Hello n8i2c7k,

I assume that you are following the methods outlined by SourDom in his beginners blog on this site.  If not, I would strongly advise that you do, as many, many people have had success following his instructions.

One common recommendation is that you use some rye flour in your starter, it seems that rye contains all sorts of goodies that help to get things going.  I certainly maintain mine with 20% rye/80% bread (white) flour.

When they are being established, starters can go through phases (a bit like kids really) but the fact that you have seen no activity is a bit strange.  You don't mention how much flour and water you have been using and one possibility is that you have too much water and it is just the flour settling out of the water that is going on.  A good starting point is 100% hydration (equal weight of flour and water).  This makes quite a thick batter that will flow slowly off a spoon and leaves quite a thick (several  to ten millimetres) coating.

Hope this helps a little.

Keep at it and let us know how you go.


indica 2012 April 12

Is important too, as that contains the little beasties.

Follow the instructions and you will be fine. My starter made that way is 43 weeks old.

james street 2018 November 12
Hi I'm experiencing a similar problem. If you figure out what happened please let me know!

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