This morning a thin layer of hooch percolated on top of my starter. According to the King Arthur Flour blog, Flourish, this liquid is alcohol, a byproduct of the fermentation process.
Several sites refer to the hooch as beer and say it smells like beer. Mine was fairly sweet-smelling, not too sour yet. Some sites suggest that hooch is an indicator it is time to feed the starter, because the fermentation occurs when yeast have consumed all available food and are dying.
Just like yesterday, I measured out one-quarter cup sourdough starter, then added one-quarter cup each whole wheat flour and filtered water to feed the starter. I use filtered water because chlorine and life don’t go so well together, and we want our yeasts and good bacteria to thrive.
I poured the remaining starter into my “discard” jar. I’m finding lots of recipes that use this slurry. Can’t wait to try them all. I’m going to have plenty of slightly fermented batter.