Sourdough Starter Designations
Well, I almost thought I knew what they were talking about when they said "liquid levain" or whichever. Some books differentiate when they specify a levain type. But now I'm confused again. Maybe there are standard definitions?
Ed Wood's book, "Classic Sourdoughs," has recipes calling for liquid culture or sponge culture. It turns out (way at the back of the book) that his liquid culture is about 108% hydration, and the sponge about 54%. RLB's liquid and firm are 100% and 50%. Leader's liquid levain is 130%, stiff dough levain 50%. Reinhart's generic starter seems to be somewhere between 50% and 100% but depends on the specific recipe.
I don't understand why some recipes in a particular book call for one type and others for another. Does it really make a difference? Why can't I just use whatever I have and use my senses to adjust water or flour? I hope for the latter because it can be real tricky to remember or figure out just what that author means by that designation.
Am I making this too complicated?