First Sourdough Starter (via Nourishing Traditions Cookbook)
I have been roaming around The Fresh Loaf for quite some time now and I have to say I am still very lost when it comes to sourdough starter, so I thought why not make an account and ask for help. I hope my questions/experience does not sound so silly or stupid.
I simply just want to learn how to make my own bread. I am currently making a sourdough starter based out of Nourishing Traditions Cookbook by Sally Fallon. The recipe calls for 2 cups of rye flour and 2 cups of water. It sits in a 6 qt container and every day I transfer it to another 6qt container, while adding 1 cup of water and 1 cup of rye flour. I leave it in room temperature with a thin flour towel covering it. I have repeated this every day for the last 7 days. Almost every day, the top layer of the dough is frothy. The recipe says, "after 7 days, the starter is ready for breadmaking. If not using starter immediately, you may store it in an airtight jar in the refrigerator."
So here are my questions:
1. The consistency is more runnier than I would expect. I don't know why I thought sourdough starters were supposed to be more doughy-like but still wet. What is it supposed to be like? Soupy, thick runny (like a better), or doughy?
2. A lot of other bread recipes call for discarding half of the batch. This book does not mention it. Is it totally awful if I do not discard half the batch? Is my week-long starter a bust?
3. The book says the starter will "develop a wine-like aroma after a few days." It smells more like beer. Is this bad, did it go bad?
4. Say all is fine and the way it should be, from here, as the book states, do I put the starter in the fridge? It's been 7 days but I don't plan on making bread until the weekend (another 4 days). If I do put it in the fridge, do I continue to feed it?
Thank you all for your time! I hope I can get some clarity to what seems to be very difficult for me to understand.