I began working with yeast last year and have gotten pretty good at every day regular breads. Now, I am trying to get started with sourdough and hope someday to be able to do what you can do! I wrote to this forum several weeks ago with my first failed attempt.

My problem is this: I am working from Peter Reinhart's book "Artisan Breads Every Day" and I have tried his seed culture to starter    (Pages 37-41). It is a different formula than his seed culture in the BBA. This is my third failed attempt.  I am using pineapple juice (fresh can every time), spring water, new rye flour, and new wheat flour. I can get the first stage and even the second stage of the seed culture, but when I get to stage 3 it seems to always become most active in the middle of the night--no matter what time I started it in the morning! On all three attempts I have moved forward to Phase 4 with something that looks like it was active but has slowed down. Stage 4 never moves--EVER. I have worked it three or four times a day for 8 days, and nothing happens except it starts to smell really nasty. I am not familiar yet with various levels of hydration, so I cannot understand why the Stage 4 never moves. I do understand that it is a drier formula--but, still nothing happens. Not in the middle of the night, not during the day--never--nothing! It just sits there in a hard ball.  Please help. Thank you,