Sourdough Starter w/White Crust
I'm new to this forum and new to bread baking of any kind. Like many, I have become sick of even the most expensive breads from supermarkets and shops being disappointing lumps of tasteless pap, so have decided to make my own (and I adore sourdough bread).
I'm on day 4 of a starter recipe by British chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall from one of his books. I started off with 50g rye and 50g white mixed together with water to the consitency of thick paint, and every 24 hours discard half the starter and add another 100g of the rye/white mix, adding enough water to return to the thick batter consistency.
Here are some of my problems:
The analogy that Hugh used for the right starter consistency (thick paint) is a tricky one; I'm not sure what thick paint would look like so I mix it to the consistency of American pancake batter instead.
It smells very strongly of vinegar and liquor (albeit quite fruity liquor). I don't think the smell is repugnant although my girlfriend does.
After 24hours it seems to develop a white, crusty skin. Underneath the skin it's very bubbly and spongy.
The air-holes produced are slow to form after every feed, and are unevenly dispersed (but seem to multiply under this crust).
NB: I store it in a Pyrex glass mixing bowl with clingfilm on top
Is any of the above normal, or does it suggest a spoiled starter? If anyone would like any pictures I can take some too. Sorry for the essay, and I would REALLY appreciate any help.