This is your brain on SmokeMonster!Locke.
Okay, it’s just the whole wheat levain before stirring it up on Day 2. You know what that liquid is on top? Sourdough breadmakers have a highly technical term for it. They call it hooch, because it’s about 15-20 proof. It’s a result of the fermentation process of the yeast. That would be the wild yeast that I set out this lovely catnip of flour and water to attract. There’s nothing wrong with hooch, so go ahead and mix it back in.
You can tell from the hooch that something’s going on now, but there isn’t a lot of bubbling or expansion going on yet. The levain has a comforting, sweet and fresh flour smell. No tang or fruitiness to it yet. By day 3 it’s supposed to gain a bit of a fresh fruit smell.
I’m going to begin posting pics of the levain’s bubbliness, too, since just seeing it after sitting for 24h doesn’t tell the whole story.
In 3 days (Day 5) this should be ready to bake with.
whole wheat levain: Day 2
Adapted with permission from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains. Day 2 is simple. Just discard half the levain, and mix in the following.
4 ounces (1 to 1⅛ cups) whole wheat flour
4 ounces (½ cup) cool nonchlorinated water
Mix well, cover, and let sit at room temperature (65° to 75°F) for 24 hours.