Gluten Destroying Starter
I've been dabbling with sourdough since receiving the Tartine book as a gift. After getting started I failed...a lot. The dough was coming out shaggy, wet, and sticky. It never seemed to hold it' shape during the ferment and stuck to the brotform regardless of the amount of flour I dusted it with. Result: doorstops. My friend in Georgia who also follows the Tartine method could only shrug, it works for him. I was beginning to think the book was worthless (I'm still not really sold on it). I tried many things to fix the problem, using bottled water instead of tap, increasing the flour percentage, adding gluten, but still, my dough was reduced to a tacky dense gloop.
After weeks of frustration my bluetick coonhound, Huckleberry, one afternoon decided to go counter surfing while I was away and ate my damnable starter. Not willing to admit defeat to Huckleberry or Chad Robertson's precious process I began brewing a replacement starter. I acknowledge, doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result is indeed insanity, but in my case, I'd like to think it was anger-fueled righteous obstinance. And it paid off.
My new golden boy starter was everything that was promised. I became thankful for my ill-mannered coon hound's unsanctioned hunting expedition (though counter surfing is still frowned upon) as now I was cranking out springy towering loaves.
Until today...my starter has turned on me once again. I think it's the same thing that was wrong with my original starter, same symptoms. Some gluten destroying microbe is my best guess, and it works fast. Within an hour of mixing, my dough which starts out nice and smooth is reduced to some sticky mass somewhere between batter and dough that fails to hold shape. Has anyone else experienced this?
I only bake on the weekends and keep the starter in the fridge during the week before reviving it for the weekend. Could this be part of the issue? Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.