Could use some advice on starter
Hello baking community, I'm a poor college student who recently found the joy of sourdough baking. I bought Nancy Silverton's book at a garage sale and have since been a quite obsessed. I ended up trying her 2 week starter recipe and that's actually why I am writing this... It's so sad, I was so excited about my starter and to make my first load of bread. So excited I was having dreams about bread and finding ways to bring up bread with people who didn't really want to hear about it. But alas,after following Nancy's recipe as best I could without a scale or thermometer my first bread didn't rise. I've since made another loaf but with limited success- it rises just a little bit after 7 hours of being put on top of my fridge where it is warm. Both breads have had decent over spring so I know something is going on in there but I just want to liven up my starter. Here's the skinny on my starter, it bubbles, it's frothy, it smells like sourdough and it's never even seen the inside of a refrigerator, but it won't double. That's what I think my problem is. No matter how long I give it, it just doesn't want to double. I've tried making it thicker, thinner, putting it in a warm place, but none of these things work. And as far as feeding, trust me I am a mother hen to this starter. I feed it three times a day by matching the amount of starter I have with water and flour. I'm using unbleached white flour, by the way and I was wondering if I should try using whole wheat as that might give the yeast some extra food- I just don't know. I'm sorry for writing a novel about this but I'm just so disappointed. I really want to make amazing bread. So tell me what I should do. Should I start over with my starter or should I do something to the one I have now to make it more lively. Any tips you have would help. I've read other post about troubles with starters but most of their problems seem easy to diagnose like leaving it in the fridge for too long or not feeding it enough but I just don't know what my fix is. Please help if you have any ideas.