New to sourdough starters. Would like advice.
I am new to sourdough and have been romanced by the concept of using natural levain to make bread. I use local (Ontario, Canada) stone-ground hard whole wheat flour for most of my breads and by following advice on the internet, I have successfully cultured a starter from my flour. I have used only flour and water. I got through the initial Lauconostoc phase and persrvered until my culutre smelled beery-sweet and sour and was nice and bubbly. It took six days.
As a starter, it has doubled in about four hours on two occasions (two consecutive feedings). I have used it to make a bread but was unimpressed with the rise. It made it about 75 percent of the way and then petered out. The bread had fair oven spring and decent crumb, but not what I am used to. Today, I find my starter is still sluggish.
So it seems my starter is not as active as it needs to be.
From what I have read (from posts here on TFL as well as many other sourdough sites) it seems that the cure-all for any sourdough ailment is to feed it.
What's the best way to perk up a young starter like mine? Should I keep it at 66-70 percent hydration or would it help it to increase it to 100 percent hydration? Does that influence the health of the starter?
Should I feed it at a 1:1 ration of starter:flour or 1:2 (or more?) Perhaps I am not introducing enough nutrients to sustain it and need to cut back on the amount of old starter or perhaps I am under-dosing my starter and not allowing enough of the starter's microorganisms into the next generation. I have used only whole wheat flour and water and would prefer to avoid the use of any other ingredients.
Any help would be appreciated.