Several-Week-Old Sourdough Starter Smells Right, But Barely Bubbling?
Like the title says, I began a starter about three weeks ago using a recipe found on YouTube from John Kirkwood. I thought it had reached maturity after about a week, because it smelled correct and had *some* bubbling (I'm new at this, so I thought it was good enough); so, I popped it in the fridge and I've been giving it a hefty feed every week since. However, yesterday I tried making my first loaf of bread with it, and found myself very confused. Like I said, it smelled right, has the right consistency, etc. But the dough barely rose after a very long bulk fermentation (all while I kept an eye on it, and so I know it didn't rise and then deflate. It just didn't really move much at all). The bread tasted fine and all: sour-ness was correct and everything, but there was almost no oven spring and no crumb-holes inside. The boule just kind of turned into a big dense pancake, even though I formed some nice surface tenseion over the top during pre-shaping. The density even prevented the bread from cooking correctly, because it was somewhat gummy inside despite being REALLY crusty in the outside. I'm at a loss. I don't think my recipe was off, and maybe I should have given the dough more time; but I thought a day-long retardation would be enough. My suspicion really is coming down to my starter, which is too bad because I thought I *had* it. Any help would be appreciated - I'm at the point where I'm not sure if I should throw it away or if I should try and supplement with just a FEW particles of active dry yeast to get some activity started. Would this be a viable option, considering I've gotten the bacteria and sour-ness correct?
Thanks a bunch!!