Starter newbie questions - when to bake?
Hello all! I've been maintaining my new starters based on Sourdolady's instructions posted on this site and I have some questions. I started using one main starter which I have used to make three total - white, rye, and whole wheat. I've been adding my 1/4 cup flour and water daily and tonight is Day 10. After each feeing, they seem to expand within a couple of hours - maybe not double, but maybe grow by about 50-75%, although the rye seems to be less active than the others. But then by morning they've collapsed back down to the original 1/4 cup amount I began with!
This has been happening for about 4 days now. Is this normal? I have not tried any other methods because I like the small amounts of flour this one uses, so I don't have any point of comparison.
They all smell very yeasty (like a poolish, I suppose, although I'm new to all of this) and are quite bubbly. When will these be viable to bake with? Can I use them in any sourdough recipe? They are like thick pancake batter consistency, so I don't know what has to be done to accomodate different types of recipes.
Sorry if these are dumb questions, this is my first venture into sourdough territory!