Sad Starter & Sadder Bread
Hi there -
I've had a sourdough starter for quite a while now and have previously made very delicious bread with a lot of great rise and oven spring. But now I can't get my starter to make decent bread for the life of me! My starter (which used to be very active) now can take almost 24 hours to double, if it ever does! It also tastes really sour, way too sour for my liking. And my sourdough bread is lucky if it gets any rise at all. Similarly, any rise I do get out of my dough just goes outward - it hardly holds its shape at all, and i'm using the same recipe.
I can think of two things that happened recently that may have caused the problem:
1) We moved. Not that big of a deal, except for the fact that the tap water here is terrible. It has a funky taste and I haven't gotten around to buying a filter yet, though I will soon.
2) It went for about 2 weeks without feeding during the holidays (though it was kept in the fridge). I've been feeding it every other day for a couple of weeks and daily for the past week, but it doesn't seem to have changed at all.
I'd really appreciate any imput you have on this, and any ideas as to why my bread only spreads out would be great! As far as that goes, Im using KAF bread flour and reinhart's basic sourdough recipe, so I can't imagine that's the problem. Could lack of yeast activity have anything to do with this?
One last note - I've made numerous loaf-pan breads and those all seem to turn out okay. Not sure if that's useful information, but it can't hurt.
Thanks so much for all of your help!