Starter fail after nearly 3 weeks
Hi folks = ]
Quick reason I'm making a new starter: we moved and I unfortunately trusted the wife to handle my old faithful starter whilst she was doing all the kitchen items. The starter got thrown out.
Yes, I should have divorced over it, but to forgive is civilized, and after 20 years invested, she has had to forgive me for a few things, too ; )
Anyways, so here we are, trying to start a new starter. It's not going well. I did the same thing I did last time, but am losing my patience. I am absolutely beyond jonesing for a succulent loaf of Susan's sourdough!
Day 1 was 40g water and 40g KA All Purpose. After about 15 hrs, maybe a few bubbles. Nothing discarded, just added another 40g of each and sat it back on the counter.
Around 12 hours later, quite a few bubbles. Discarded half, added 40g of each again. 12 hrs later, not much different, lot of bubbles, no rise. Discard, replenish.
12 hours later, lots of bubbles still. No discard, nothing added, just stirred it well. 12 hours later, it exploded, more than double. I expected this was leuconostoc. Discard, replenish.
12 hours later, more explosion, same size (what's interesting about this type of 'rise' is that it does not collapse after it peaks; it stays right where it peaked). Discard, replenish.
It died at this point. Well, at least whatever was causing that furious activity around day 3. I discarded and replenished every 12-15 hours for the next 10-12 days. There was always lots of bubbles (thousands of tiny ones, a good handful of larger ones), but never much of a rise. Then, about 4 days ago, it started suddenly rising. I thought A HA! finally! So I've been still faithfully feeding since then, but this starter is NOT right at all... it rises close enough to call it double, but two things: it still does not collapse after peaking, and it smells TERRIBLE. The wife says it smells like an old wet sneaker. I say it smells like a damp and musty pumpkin patch. Neither of these things would I want in bread.
My old starter was so 'regular' in its characteristics. After feeding, it would produce an upward dome as it started climbing the container. After peaking, the dome would flatten, but the height would remain for about 90-180 mins. At that point, the dome would turn down (inward), and the starter would start to collapse in on itself. It also smelled so good, you could almost dip a spoon of it like cookie dough. The current state of my newest starter has not changed now for 4 or 5 days. I feed it, it nearly doubles, it sits right there at that height (no matter how long I leave it after it peaks), and as mentioned, it does not smell right. When stirred down, it also is extremely gooey. There is absolutely no flour structure at all, it's as thick and again as thin as Elmer's Glue.
I have to come to you, the experts ;)
2 days ago, I split the starter at a feeding, and converted half of it to 75% hydration, and am currently maintaining both versions seperately. What should I do here? Do I need to feed more often, like every 6-8 hours when it peaks? Do I need to stop feeding it for maybe 24 hours or more? What will get rid of this gooey environment?