The dark liquid is a form of naturally-occurring alcohol known as hooch, which indicates that your sourdough starter is hungry. Hooch is harmless but should be poured off and discarded prior to stirring and feeding your starter.
The trick to getting this thing going is oxygen, stir it heaps, up and over to force air through the whole thing.
So you have two choices: (1) WAIT. Wait three or four times as long as a recipe says for your slow-poke wild-types to get their act together. And then wait some more. or (2) Cheat by adding some store-bought into the mix. Then you will have the wild-type for its unique flavor qualities, and you will have domesticated yeast servants whose duty it is to pump up the dough.
small note; one must feed said yeasts DAILY with a coupla heaping spoonfuls of flour and sometimes a dash of unchlorinated water. After about a week you should be able to use half the mixture to start bread; saving the other half & continue to feed it daily until jar is full again.
Mike Barkley wrote:I'm a little confused. Are you adding a commercial sourdough starter yeast of some sort first or trying to use captured wild yeast? That's what I've always done so I leave the cover off for the first couple days to assist in the capture.
Dell Knapp wrote: I am still a baker for the market in Madison, Wi & wanted to share this, hoping it gives you more tasty options !
Nick Turner wrote:.... he is a little too technical for my taste....
Anne Miller wrote:Thanks everyone for the links, tips and comments.
Several days ago, I decided that I was not happy with my starter. After much reading I started a new starter yesterday using my starter. So far I like the looks of it.
I found that some of my all purpose flour was actually self-rising flour. Like a good daughter, I bought self rising flour for years because that is what my mother bought. After I quit buying self rising flour, I evidently had some still in my flour container.
Self rising flour, water temperature and room temperature is what I feel was the problem with my starter.
I have looked at my new starter several times and it is looking good. The instructions say wait 24 hours which will be at 5:45pm.
Borislav Iliev wrote:Finally I made the bread I was thinking about for some time now.... also it taste really right, and doesnt give that feeling of being tired and lazy after eating it, also the flavor is really rich, and the taste also, fermentation adds lots of flavor, but sprouting add some too.