immature starter Q
I have a question for anyone who might want to jump in and I'll try to describe the sequence of what I've done to get where I'm at, although I still might wind up sounding confusing.
A couple of weeks ago, I started a batch of wild yeast starter. My first couple of days I used some oat flour from my cupboard that I thought might be too old. When the batch wasn't doing anything for a few days, I started adding fresh ground rye (I bought whole rye and ground it myself) and just tossed the oat flour in the trash. Boom. Took off like a rocket. After 4 or so more days, I split the starter into two batches because I wanted to experiment with AP and WW, fully expecting to satisfy my curiosity after they are matured and doing a few side-by-side taste tests.
Things have been going very well. Both are in small bowls, I started once-a-day feedings at .25 c starter/.5 c flour/.5 c H20. After reading regularly through the posts here, I bumped it up to twice-a-day feedings for both WW and AP.
Boom. Christmas Eve, the AP starter stopped passing my "sniff test", which means I could detect no odour. Both had had a pleasant odour every day, a little beery and a little fruity, always wonderful. The WW continues to have a wonderful aroma but the AP starter now smells like.... flour. That's it. I cannot explain why but I felt intuitively that I should give the feeding a break for a day (probably not the correct thing to do, but.....). Last night I gave a 1/4 tsp splash of raw apple cider vinegar to the AP starter. The WW starter is still fine, the AP starter still smells like flour today.
In addition to the 2 small bowls of starter that I was working on, I have 2 larger bowls going. In one is the leftover WW starter I would have otherwise discarded and in the other is the AP starter I would have otherwise discarded. I have not fed either of those with fresh flour/water, but just plunk the excess starter in the respective bowl each day. This was an experiment on my part, since I wanted to learn more about starter by observing. The 2 big bowls smell incredibly wonderful. Fruity. I used a cup of the leftover AP starter to make a loaf of bread just to see what I got. I made sourdough no-knead bread, only because I've had lots of experience with the traditional no-knead bread and I thought it would make a good starting point for learning, since it was already a known entity. The bread rose very well and had an incredible crumb. Taste? well, not so much. Which should just mean that my starter is still immature, right? Which is kind of what I was expecting.
(And the number of bowls isn't too overwhelming at this point, even though my kitchen is very small. I have two 8x10 wire racks I use for roasting and such, they make great stackers for my pile of bowls. I've got the stack in the warmest part of my kitchen since our house is typically on the cool side.)
Should I try anything else to the small bowl of AP starter? Put a little of the leftover AP starter back into it?