Sourdough starter: too much bacteria? (not contaminated)
Hello everyone, (I'm a newbie. Please lend me your advice if you have time.)
I've always had trouble with my sourdough starter not producing a nice & airy, light-crumbed bread. The natural starter keeps making my breads pretty dense--heavy crumbs. Sometimes I get some good air bubbles & the texture is chewy, but the crumb is still quite heavy.
I've tried many types of starters (flour & water only; fermented fruit juice; yogurt; grapes, etc...) but the results are the same. I notice that not everyone has this problem for I've seen many beautiful high-risen, light-crumbed natural starter breads from many of the members here. My starters were active just fine, bubbling away and everything. The problem is the gluten in the starter getting weak.
The last starter I made was this summer using home-grown grapes. It was alive and fine and kept its glutenous texture the entire time UNTIL I added the rye flour--in much lesser amounts relative to the main white flour. Since the introduction of the rye flour, I noticed a very rapid change in the texture of the stater. It seemed to lose the glutenous quality and became very very sticky w/o the "bounciness" it used to have. And when I began to put together the final dough, no matter how much flour I put in, the dough was sticky like crazy! Incredibly difficult to work with! The dough was somewhat runny regardess of amount of flour used, b/c it sort of lost its gluten "backbone".
I read that this may have been the result of lactobacteria outgrowing the wild yeast too much, therefore producing excessive enzymes that break down the gluten. How do I avoid this? I have since given up on using wild yeast, b/c I feel I can't maintain it right. I remember that I refrigerated it in between feedings & warmed it up to room temp. before & a little after each feeding. Sorry, I don't have pictures of anything.
Thanks, for your help in advance!