sourdough...fascinating but confusing
I'm growing my own starter, it's 8 days old now. I'm following a recipe based on 100% hydratation and currently I'm refreshing it on a 2:1:1 basis I believe(75 grams starter, 37.5 grams flour, 37.5 grams water approx). I started on 100% rye and slowly increasing white flour ratio, in a few days I should be on all white flour. Temperatures measured are between 19-21C during daytime(about 68F) and minimum of 15C during nights(59F). Feeding once per 24 hours.
I know these things get asked a lot, but I've been reading so much it's making me confused, so hopefully somebody can help me here.
It seems to be going well, it was very stinky(vomit like) on days 2-3, now it smells fresher(bit like yoghurt/beer, so should be ok but I never smelled sourdough before so I'm not sure) and it doubled plus some more in 4 hours. Does that mean its ready? I've seen pictures of tripling/quadrupling, but mine doesn't do that, it just starts dropping. Is that because of the 2:1:1 ratio? I figured giving it more to eat will give better results. Does it even mean anything if it can triple/quadruple, I mean is that a measure of health?
Also, since the beasties seem to eat quickly, does feeding every 12 hours make sense? I read so many different things on that...
Another question: I want to start with white bread, but I enjoy wholegrain/rye/spelt. Should you convert your starter to the kind of flour you're using, or is it possible to have one "general purpose"?
Also, I think I read some people taste their sourdough to find out what it's doing. I'm willing to do that, but what am I supposed to taste, and what can I learn from it?
Thanks in advance, any help is appreciated!