something odd about my sourdough Firm starter. Please advice
So I'm making my first sourdough and I'm using the seed culture and barm recipe from the Bread Bakers Apprentice. The barm turned out amazing. I just refreshed it today using 150gs and using 50% dark rye flour (I was out of bread flour) and 50% water. It doubled in size after 2-3 hours and just looks and smells really good.
However, when I go to follow the recipe for the basic sourdough bread in the same book, something goes wrong. I've only started the firm starter which calls for 4 oz of barm, 4.5 oz of high gluten or bread flout (I used dark rye--once again out of bread flour). The recipe says to mix together and knead it into a small ball, and it should have the consistency of french bread dough. It says I shouldn't have to do it very long, just until the flour is hydrated and barm is evenly distributed. I did this or at least, I thought I did. The dough formed a ball quite easily, though it did seem a little stiff. I followed the instructions and let the dough rise for approximately 4 hours, checking on it every hour to see it's progress. It did rise, but not as much as I thought it would and now it is kinda flat on the top and rounded on the sides. It also doesn't seem as pliable as my usual dough. I know this is just the starter and nought the final dough (as acording to the recipe I'm using), but is it normal?
PS. I tried posting pictures of it... but for some reason it wouldn't let me. Any advice?