Struggling to get my sourdough starter working- Australia
I have twice attempted to create a rye sourdough starter based on the Larousse Book of Bread (Eric Kaiser, I believe).
I live in North Qld, Australia so my climate is hot & humid generally but since I started my attempts at a starter, I've had my aircon on set at 24° C.
My first attempt was a big flop, I followed the instructions to the letter & even baked a loaf at day 4 but it didn't rise at all bar very slightly once it went in the oven. After using my starter for baking, I fed it again a couple of times over the next week but I came home the day after its last feed & it had gone mouldy. I think most of the problem was because I wasn't using filtered water and our water is both chlorinated & fluoridated. So I understand my mistake there.
My second attempt I used filtered water & organic rye flour. I do have to use a little more water at each step though, as it is way too dry (not liquid at all, I wouldn't even call it a paste it was that dry). It was working really well for the first 3 days, it was nice & bubbly/foamy & looked like it was going to work. But then I came to day 4 & it has completely stopped everything. It has pretty much no activity at all, very few pin head sized bubbles. I left it for 2 days & it still hasn't shown any increased activity & definitely nothing like what I saw in the first couple of days. I have fed it today but I am fully expecting to have to throw it out shortly.
I dont understand why everything has come to a screaming halt. Aside from using a tad more water, I have followed everything exactly as the recipe said.
Is a liquid starter supposed to look really bubbly & active? Should it be rising & falling like I've been reading every other starter does? I have not had any starter rise & fall yet.
I just dont know what I'm doing wrong. And I'm totally confused as to what to do because everything I'm reading says something different.
Please help!! I really want to get this starter working so I can start baking bread!!