Sourdough starter Hydration Ratios: Thin vs Thick: How they smell, and how do they affect the final loaf.
How "sour" does your starter smell?
When I use my soudough starter (typically about 6 hours after the final refresh), I remix it well, blow off the CO2, and take a whiff: it usually smells like vinegar (acetic acid; burns the nose).
In contradistinction, my home-made fermented pickles and Polish sour rye soup starter (500% hydration ratio), typically smell like lactic acid (sweet to the nose).
((Seeking to improve the lactic acid to acetic acid ratio in my sourdough bread, I have recently innoculated one of my sourdough cultures with a tablespoon of my Polish sour rye soup starter culture. I then refreshed this sourdough bread culture at a "pancake batter" hydration ratio (?150%) every 12 hours for 2 days.))
Indeed, my new sourdough culture, now maintained at this high hydration ratio, smells much sweeter. However, this does not mean that just 1/4 cup of this sweet-smelling starter will ferment 300g water and 400g flour, over 12 hours, to that same lactic-acid predominance in the final loaf.
I am seeking experienced wisdom regarding thin vs thick home-maintained sourdough starters, how they smell, and the basic differences on how they should be used in the practice to make high lactic-acid to acetic acid ratio bread at home. If someone has already written a FAQ, article, or thread on this, please post that link.