Starter Sex / Contact High?
My starter, prepared using the Tartine method, was fine for months. Last week, it suddenly stopped rising after being fed. For about a week, I discarded and fed it daily, but to no avail. No rise at all.
About a week later, I was given a small amount of powerful starter from a local bakery. That night, I fed both starters and placed them next to one another on the counter, covered with a towel. In the morning, despite the relatively cold temperatures overnight (~50F), my original starter doubled and seemed stronger than ever before. It has been very vibrant ever since.
Can this be attributed to the fact that it was placed next to the powerful starter I got from the bakery?
I have heard of starters being contaminated by vinegar mother in the same room, but can the opposite happen too? Can a weak starter be invigorated by strong bacteria / yeast traveling from an adjacent jar?
There are two other possible explanations for the change in my original starter that night:
1. It was colder than usual for the season. Can it be that my starter prefers colder temperatures? It has always lived on the counter, and the temperatures here have been 60-80F.
2. That night, following advice I received on this forum, I did not discard any starter. I fed it without discarding.
I am curious to hear your thoughts about this.