I wasn't working on anything esoteric, just doing a two stage build of a rye starter. A formula for "Abfrisch" from Plotzblog's post on the Wild Yeast site stirred my imagination into working on a sourdough version instead of the preferment version offered. I didn't think it could be that difficult since it was similar to a Pain de Meteil in Clayton's "Breads of France".
Here's what happened.
1130PM, 18 MAY 2012
18g of 66% hydration starter
24g water at room temperature
36g Hodgson Mills Rye Flour
Dissolve starter seed in water, mix in rye flour, cover and rest at room temperature, 72F.
8AM 19 MAY 2012
82g water at room temperature
123g HM rye flour.
Stir water into first stage then stir in rye flour. Cover and leave at room temperature, 74F.
4PM 19 MAY 2012
So far, nothing complicated or exotic had been done during the two build stages. The room temperature had gone up to 82F over the day. Typical of my experiences with rye starters, relatively little growth in the starter had occurred. I had deliberately aimed for around 66% hydration so I expected a more or less damp lump. The best way to check on progress, I thought, was to try a sniff test to verify activity.
This is where the strangeness started. When I opened the container, I actually heard a sound like sizzling bacon or perhaps a very fizzy carbonated drink. I've never had anything like this happen before nor have I read about something similar here on TFL. The starter that I built appears to have been correctly since it did a good job with the loaf I've been working on this evening.
I suspect that what happened was only the CO2 escaping out of the starter through areas where there was water on the surface. Has anyone else observed such a phenomenon? Are there any other possible explanations?