Starter seems dry on top
I am trying to make a starter following the pineapple juice recipe. I am using whole wheat flour with 100% hydration. As i am in India, rye is not an option, not available as far as i know. The starter does get bubbles & does expand around 50% or so, but the top looks dry after a few hours. Its been around 9 days now, in between, it smelt terrible, but thats getting better(seems so). But this dry texture on top is always there - i am putting a loose cover on top and another starter with all purpose flour doesnt have this look(covered similarly) though its rising slower and much less.
Any idea what might be causing it(the dryness)? And also, it hardly seems to fall, it rises and then just remains almost at that level till i feed it the next day(once in 24 hrs). Temp is 80-85 F here. Humidity is high. Using mineral water and organic whole bran wheat. I do measure my ingredients as i have been baking for over a year.
Any help will be much appreciated, and thanks to all for the wonderful knowledge base that you all have built up here.