Please help! First time starter user!
A very kind person from this very site sent me a little bitty of his own sourdough starter, and I followed his directions on how to feed it, but I'm now having trouble, and not sure what I should do! If anyone can tell me if I'm doing this right, I would be EXTREMELY grateful.
The starter I got was just a little bitty, and was of the consistency of thick glue. I have no idea whether or not this is what is called "firm" starter...Can anyone please explain the difference, so I know what I'm doing if a recipe calls for firm starter? I put it into a glass container and added 50gm whole wheat flour, 50gm white bread flour and 100gm water. This was yesterday afternoon. As nightfall approached, it hadn't risen too much, but was definitely bubbling. I decided to let it sit overnight on my kitchen counter. The temp in this room is in the mid 60s or so.
In the morning, there was not much of a change, and not knowing what to do, I looked up any information I could find to tell me if this was normal or if the starter was dead, or what the status was. I read where you should feed your starter once a day, so at around 7am, I stirred up what I had (when I stirred it, it was still very bubbly, and made strings as I was stirring it up - very sticky! Smells fine but not particularly sour), and gave it another 50gm whole wheat flour, 50gm white bread flour and 100gm more water. I guess I'm going to let it sit another day.
I am not sure when this starter will be suitable for baking. At all. My goal is to make the San Joaquin style sourdough bread recipe I found here on the site, but it calls for "firm" starter...Is that what I'm making here? I don't know much about working with ratios of dry ingredients to wet ones yet, so it's something I need to feel out as I go, but I'm terrified to kill this starter or do something fatally wrong. My starter isn't particularly runny, but it's not unmanageable. If I stir it with a large chopstick, it gives resistance, but it's definitely not hard to stir.
Would anyone be willing to help a super brand newbie just starting with her first little bitty of starter? I would appreciate your kindness and patience so much! Meantime, I am searching for recipes and trying to educate myself as best I can, but in the meantime, am I doing the right thing with this starter? How will I know when it's ready to go into a recipe? That's my biggest question, along with the "firm starter" issue.
Thanks in advance to anyone who can help!!! :)