Help please! My italian flour "00" starter doesn't double, will it still work?
Please help me. I'm riduculously new to baking and trying to make sourdough starter because I'm desperate for some sourdough bread. I started my starter (pardon the redundancy) about 4 weeks ago, but I don't think it's capable of baking bread. I live in Italy and am using tipo "00" flour (I've been considering using "0" to see if that works better) and bottled spring water in what I think is a 2:1:1 ratio. My house is pretty cool around 18 to 19 degrees C. I have what I think is a 100% starter since I use a scale and put in equal weights of water and flour. But my started doesn't double. It does rise a bit and smells a bit sour (I'm new to baking so I don't know exactly what "yeasty" smells like, but there is an undertone of another odor, perhaps that's yeast?). It also makes large-ish bubbles. So it seems like it's active to a certain point, but I don't think it's active enough to raise bread.
I decided to try to make bread with it just the same and used the 1-2-3 method from this fourm. I ambitiously put 200g of my weak starter with 400g of water and 600g of flour (is that right?) and I got a very soupy dough. I was only able to knead it by adding tons of flour and in the end I was left with a soft dough that I formed into a flatish ball and left it to rise inside the oven with a pan of warm water underneath (I believe that was a mistake!). My flatish ball turned into an even more flatish large frisbee with bubbles on the surface within a couple of hours. It's now been "rising" for 6 hours but not much has changed. I then used some more starter (about 100g) with 300g flour and about 120g of water to form a "tougher" dough and put it in the oven too. It has maintained it's original shape, but alas, all too well. After about 4 hours it doesn't seem to have done anything with no evidence of bubbles on the surface.
Do I need to feed it more, feed it less, use a different flour, use a different water, change the dilution? How can I get this stuff to rise??? I've devoted 4 weeks to this starter and I don't even know how many Kg of flour and I still can't bake bread!!! My husband is on the verge of trashing my precious jar of bubbling goop if I can't bake something with it that will show him what is worth.
Thanks for any help you can give me.