I'm in the process of activating my Ischia culture for the first time and wanted to ensure I'm on the right path. I purchased the culture over 2 years ago and have kept it in the fridge the entire time. I mixed it with 105 grams of Caputo flour and 225 grams of bottled water in a large jar and have had it my proofing box for about 18 hours at 85-89 degrees
When I check it this morning, after about 12 hours, it has a layer of what I presume is hooch on the top. Is that expected? I didn't think I would have any hooch at this point, as I thought hooch indicates a starter that has collapsed and needs to be fed again (but activation instructions indicated next feeding is after 24 hours). This image
is how it looked at 12 hours in.This second image
is my culture at 18 hours in - uh oh, the mixture is bubbly now but the hooch has moved to the bottom. Seems to me I'm contaminated! Although the smell of it is decent - yeasty and sour like. Should I wait the requisite 24 hours to determine or start a washing procedure immediately?
Pictures are attached, your help is greatly appreciated. (The starter seen on the jar above the layer of hooch is just there from when I initially mixed the starter.)