Liquid layer between yeast layers in starter?

I am just trying to get started with my starter for the first time, but after feeding, the starter only minimally increases in volume and then a liquid layer forms between top and bottom layers of the yeast/flour/water mixture. See photo. How do I combat this and get my starter to really rise in volume? Thank you!!!

3 comments

how thick is your starter? too thin and there's not enough structure in the starter to hold bubbles and they will just escape. I can't really tell from the pic, but it looks like there is some residue well up the sides of the jar. are you just missing the rise? an underfed starter will also produce liquid like this. how much are you feeding, and how often? and off course, what temp is the starter kept at?

it seems thick - I am using a feeding ration of 1:1:1 for starter, wheat flour, and water. I am not missing the rise - I watch it like a hawk. It is at room temp, which is usually 70-80 F. I am feeding at least once a day and am now starting any time i see any liquid accumulating.

congratulations, you have hooch forming! that's a sign of an active starter, just what you want. I would increase food ratio - go 1:2:2, or feed more often. increasing ratios is a bit easier. a new starter can be a very hungry beast, and you may have to feed like 4 times a day using 1:1:1 if you're seeing hooch forming. oh, give it a good stirring here and there during the day. no problem mixing the hooch back in, and the stirring will mix up the beasties and the food, giving them access to more food. let us know how it goes!