A bunch of starter questions!
I have a 2 month old white starter that I don't measure the flour and water for when feeding but have kept around 100% hydration. The one time I used it to make bread, I noticed there wasn't a very sour flavor but mostly a slightly tangy aftertaste. At that time I was measuring the flour and water for feedings and it was exactly 100% hydration.
I don't dump starter off when I feed it, I add some flour and water, stir and put the top back on. I now have about 4-5 cups of starter. This morning I added more flour than I normally do to lower the hydration level (guessing it's around 75% now), I've read that this makes for a more sour final product.
#1 Is it ok to measure/feed this way?
#2 If I want to go back and forth between 100% and a lower hydration, is that ok to do? Should I wait until the yeast eat and then take some of the lower hydration starter and make a seperate 100% hydration starter so I have 2 starters?
#3 Do I even need the same starter at different hydrations?
#4 Sometimes my starter smells as strong as tequila (burns my nose) and sometimes as mild and beer, should I be concerned with the stronger smell? It rises well and seems to be doing well overall.
#5 My kitchen is cold, in the 50-60 range during the day, colder at night. Would keeping the starter in a more stable environment (the fridge) be better for it?
Any other advice you feel like giving would be much appreciated, links to sourdough sites would be great too!