Nancy Silverton Starter Troubleshooting
Just joined this site because I am looking for some help. I've scoured the internet and been on quite a few blogs, reading about starters and this seems like the best resource for me. I have recently completed Day 15 of Nancy Silverton's Sourdough Starter from her La Brea Bakery Book. It's the starter with the grapes. I've read a couple of posts but can't really find anything that will help me in troubleshooting my particular issue.
So here's what is happening: After Day 15, I discarded most of the starter and saved 9 ounces (as she says to do). And I have been feeding it 28 ounces of bread flour plus 19.5 ounces of filtered water per day. I am feeding once a day at this point, which she claims is OK. Each morning, I'm dumping everything but 9 ounces and starting over.
To make a long story short, this is the 3rd or 4th attempt at making this starter and each time I fail. Basically, the starter never seems to get off the ground - it bubbles, it might foam, but ultimately (and each day), it separates and looks like it leaves hooch. I am a former professional baker, but haven't dabbled with starters until recently.
After Day 15 this time, I decided to try and bake with it, just to see what would happen. I didn't make it too far, as I realized the dough I made (also her recipe) wasn't rising. The starter smells good, the dough smelled good. It tastes fine - could be a little more sour in my opinion, but it certainly doesn't smell alcohol-ish or off. However, it is not producing the CO2.
Can someone offer any advice to help me get this starter strong enough to start working? I'd really rather get it going than dump it. Let me know if there are any additional details needed; I have pretty extensive notes from the process.