Quick question - if my starter peaks (i.e. doubles after a 1:2:2 feeding) within 12 hours at room temperature, should it be expected to raise an entire loaf of bread to double with 10% inoculation within 3 hours? I simply don't understand how, unless everyone's starter doubles within 3-4h, bread dough can double within that time, especially with the addition of salt slowing down the fermentation process?
I just want to make sure my starter is functioning properly as it should, because so far all my bakes which have succeeded have involved very very long proof and ferment times (including time in the fridge, where I think my starter continues working its lazy way through the dough..), and anything I've tried to do within the span of a day falls flat. I read a lot in recipes about people having dough rise to double or triple, and that has never happened to me before. I read too about starters tripling or quadrupling, likewise have never encountered such beasties. I don't think I've ever come close to overproofing loaves before - everything is underproofed or the dough turns into a puddle by way of autolysis before it can properly proof.
My starter was grown with cheap UK supermarket (Tesco) flour, and has recently been feeding on some whole wheat flour as well (up to 50% of the feed, so the same as the initial starter weight since I feed 1:2:2), but I have stopped doing that since it seems to acidify my whole starter mixture and break down dough stupidly quick.If it turns out, as I suspect, that I have a very weak starter, how do I go about getting it stronger? I am currently upping the feeding ratio to 1:5:5 and crossing my fingers hoping for the best, but any additional suggestions would be welcome!