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Sourdough Starter Hooch

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I am wondering if the Hooch is something to be poured off, and gotten rid of, or is it to be stirred in with the subsequent feedings ??
post #2 of 16
I stir it in. Guess it's okay...I've lived to tell about it. :look:
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post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hooch

Thanks for the answer, Grace.......Didn't think it did any particular harm by consuming it. Just wondered if it had any specific use in the breadmaking process.....OR would one get a better product by pouring it off.....OR is it something that is absolutely needed in the making of a successful loaf of sourdough bread? :look:
post #4 of 16
Unless it is discolored and smells off, the hooch is traditionally stirred back in to the starter before feeding it.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hooch

Thank you, KYHeirloomer.......that is what I wanted to know ! :)
post #6 of 16
Lisbet, I apologize for my smart-aleck answer before. The 'hooch', as you call it [I like that description], is the result of the liquid separating from the solids in the starter. For the right consistency in your starter, and consequently in the finished product, stirring it back in or replacing it with an equal volume of other liquid, is the appropriate thing to do. However, understand that this liquid contains a good deal of the desirable flavors, live cultures and yeast associated with sourdough, and replacing it with something else will certainly affect the taste [and possibly the volume] of whatever sourdough you are making. In agreement with KYHeiloomer said, unless it smells really offensive, stir it in. And as for the odor...it's called "sourdough" for a reason, so expect it to smell sour... but if this makes any sense... pleasantly sour. I don't know what constitutes "discolored". The hooch on my soudough starter is typically very dark, but it isn't cloudy or moldy, so I continue to stir it in. If you continue using and feeding your starter, you can expect the sourdough flavors to develop more dimension over time. Unfed, they will go dormant, but will not spoil if stored properly [well covered and refrigerated] and will need to be "awakened" before you make your next batch of dough.

Here is a really good sourdough cookbook: "Worldwide Sourdoughs from Your Bread Machine" [Nitty Gritty Cookbooks] By Donna Rathmell German and Ed Wood. It explains everything about sourdoughs, heirloom yeasts, establishing and maintaining the culture, the history of sourdoughs, on and on. Yes, the recipes are formulated for bread machine, but they can be used with other methods too.
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post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

Sourdough - resulting Hooch

No offense taken, Grace. I realized that perhaps the question would seem a bit on the dumb side, but I really wanted to know! Thank you for the good information in your last post. Believe "Hooch" is alcohoholic liquid (smells a bit like alcohol, too) resulting from the fermentation process. The color looks positively evil, so just wondered how much, if anything, it contributes to flavor and how necessary it is in the recipe.

Will look that book up, too. Many Thanks!
post #8 of 16
The hooch is a product of yeast metabolism/reproduction.

If you're establishing a new starter, don't worry about it. Just stir it back in as KY said, and continue with the feeding/resting regimen.

With an already established starter, if you see a fair bit of hooch on top, it means the starter is tired, hungry and probably too weak for baking. Discard all but about 1/2 cup of the starter and feed with 2 or 3 cups each flour and water, and let it rest (outside the refrigerator). After a couple of hours, you should see plenty of bubble activity. Let the starter sit for at least eight hours before using -- or reduce it again to 1/2 cup, feed again (as before) and use when the starter is fully thickened (about 8 hours).

If, after feeding, you don't see bubble activity, thickening, and/or expansion -- not even after leaving the starter out overnight -- your starter may have died. It happens.

You may stir the hooch back into the starter if you like, or drain it off. It's not going to make much difference one way or the other unless you're planning on making your bread with the depleted starter. It adds some sour, which is nice. But it also adds a sort of "beery" aroma which is more controversial.

If you think of sourdough starter as a living, partly domesticated, tempremental, and very useful animal, it's less cringe-inducing to use two or three pounds of flour just to resuscitate it.

Hope this helps,
BDL
post #9 of 16
Would you stir the hooch back in first, or not?
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post #10 of 16
Me? Personally? I stir it back in before separating into "feed" and "discard" portions. But I grew up on the west coast where we like our sourdoughs very sour -- we don't throw away the hooch unless we're making emergency pancakes.

BDL
post #11 of 16
That's what I thought, just wanted to make sure. Yes, I would stir it back in as well. To my mind, the whole point of "sourdough" is for it to be sour. :lips:
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 

Sourdough Hooch

Just want to thank everyone for responding to my novice query.

I appreciate B.D.L.'s detailed post, thank you !! (Have saved several of your posts on different cooking subjects.) :chef:
post #13 of 16
Lisbet,

Thanks for the kind words.

BDL
post #14 of 16
Technically or chemically, that hooch is beer, or, a sour beer.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

Sourdough Hooch

I read somewhere that the old-time Alaskan Miners used to drink it as an alcoholic beverage! (ugh, burp :crazy:)
post #16 of 16
When "aged" properly, the hooch is quite drinkable.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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