Please Help Save My Sticky Mother Starter
Using Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day and King Arthur bread flour, I went from seed culture to pain au levain a few weeks ago.
The first time I got to the Mother Starter phase I had a lovely soft ball of dough. Following Reinhart's instructions, I refreshed the starter after 5 days, using weights not volume, and the result was a much stickier dough. I refreshed after another 5 days and the dough was even stickier. It rose perfectly but flattened out and didn't have the structural integrity of a ball of dough.
It's time to refresh again and I'm not sure how to proceed. I've read a lot about hydration on this board but am still puzzled. Should I cut back on the water I add to the flour and starter mixture? If I do that, how will it affect the resulting sourdough starter and pain au levain? I don't want a dry, crumbly bread.
Or, is it possible to use this sticky goo to build the sourdough starter and adjust the hydration as necesssary at that stage to create a tacky dough?