STILL can't get a starter!!!!!!
So well after 10+ tries here, I still can't get a stable rising starter.
I've tried Ken Forkish, Reinhart, all the other redundant recipes that exist on this site and others and it's just not happening. I feel I'm getting closer, but it just won't stick. I'm going to explain what's happening in my latest-and maybe most successful attempt below.
I started this batch out with pineapple and whole wheat flour, didn't feed, just let it stand for 36-48 hours. Then I fed this entire amount with about a 2:1:1 premix + water+whole wheat flour (I believe it was 100g mix+50g water+50g WWF).
I let this just stand on my counter with a sealed lid. I didn't see any rise, but one morning I pressed on the cap and realized there was pressure---so it was exhaling Co2. I turned open the cap and sure enough it made the suction sound so there was certainly Co2!
To this boozy and pungent mix I did a 2:1:1 but with WHITE ORGANIC AP FLOUR. So perhaps 100g premix +50g water+50g WHITE ap flour.
It rises, slowly, but doubles+ a little. Fair enough. I let it go for 24 hours; it peaks, is very frothy and bubbly and generally sourdough-starter-looking.
Feed it again, this time it rises SLOWER than last, it just under, or gets right at doubling, then collapses again. Wait about 24 hours during this feed cycle.
I feed it again, same ratio, same ingredients. It rises but FAILS TO DOUBLE and in 12-16 hours it peaks and begins to fall. I see a pattern: every time I feed, it rises less and less.
This is exactly where I stand. After every feeding, switching from WHOLE WHEAT to WHITE, it seems to rise less and less. WHERE IS THE ISSUE HERE?!
It smells tart, fruity, like a tart apple and I know it's how sourdough is supposed to smell--I've done this before!
What should my next step be? It will be 24 hours since last feed here in about 8 hours. As I've said, it's risen-NOT DOUBLED-and fallen.
Do I feed with some whole wheat flour? Do I just keep going down this road and expect it to double+ again?
Please, no disrespect, but don't give me directions on how to start a new starter, or to use commercial yeast.