Tartine Country Loaf, one step at a time: Starter
I've been feeding my starter for more than a month and have baked the Tartine Country Loaf recipe four times; all failures. I started another thread asking for help with making this recipe but it's turning into an epic. There are so many variables and so many steps that I feel like I need to be sure I've got the first step nailed before trying the next.
I've tried all sorts of things with the starter: I've put the starter by the window to get more bacteria. I've put the starter in a cooler on the floor to protect it from temperature fluctuations. I've fed it once/day, I've fed it twice/day. I've fed it equal parts flour and water by volume, and by weight. All with the same results: the levain fails the float test after 10-12 hours, the dough doesn't rise during bulk fermentation, and the bread has no spring in the oven, resulting in gummy bricks.
Recently I've had a suspicion that I have not been training my starter with enough food. I was dumping out 80% of the volume; the remainder of which was about 100-115g of starter. To this I'd add 70-80g of flour (about 1/2 cup) and an equal amount of water. In this case the starter was about 40% of the total weight.
So I'm going to try a new experiment. The book says something about dumping out 80% so I'm going to dump out 80% by weight, as opposed to 80% volume.
My new feeding routine: once/day in the morning. Dump out all but 50g of starter and add 100g flour and 100g water. In this case the starter is 20% of the total weight. I figure if I train with more food it might be more active when I make the levain.
After a few days on this schedule, the starter is doubling in volume after 24 hours. However, what concerns me is that after 12 hours, it only rises about 10-20%. The book, and what I've read on the forum, seem to indicate that a starter should do all it's rising and falling within a few hours after feeding. Is this true?