Is my Levain Ready?
First-time poster here. I started baking with sourdough last year until I killed my starter in a move. I began again recently and have built a lively starter, but I started noticing an issue recently...
I use my own version of Ken Forkish's method where I take a portion of my mother out of the fridge, feed it with a 1:2:2 (Whole wheat) ratio for a couple days until it's good and active, then I do Forkish's method to build the levain of 1 starter: 1 whole wheat: 4 white: 4 water. More or less a 1:4:4. I believe he increases his ratio to get the starter as active as possible before putting it into the final dough.
My problem is, as we all know, Forkish wastes flour, so instead of using the astronomical amounts of flour he suggests for the levain, I use the same proportions but divided to a quarter (something he says is totally fine to do). I do 25:25 (whole):100 (AP):100. What happens, however, is with these increased proportions my levain (which has only a meager 25g of starter) takes forever to actually rise, though it does at least double in 12 hours or so, and smells of strong alcohol after 5 or so hours. If my levain is taking this long to rise, should I still mix it into my final dough after 6-8 hours like he suggests if it's only risen a tiny bit at this point? Or should I wait until it's doubled, then use it, regardless of time? I'm sure the problem isn't my starter, because with feedings of 1:2:2, it'll triple in 12 hours. Last time I made a sourdough loaf with this issue, the sourness was a little milder than I remembered after a solid 8 or 9 hour levain rise.