Seed Culture Troubleshooting
I'm Jessica and I'm new here on the forum. I was hoping some of you could help me figure out if my starter just needs more time or if I scrap it and start all over. I've looked through some of the other sourdough forum discussions, but I could still use a little help to figure this out.
I started a seed culture 6 days ago using Ken Forkish's instructions. I've also consulted Peter Reinhart's books too to troubleshoot. I used King Arthurs whole wheat flour and filtered water around 90 degrees F, according to Forkish's book. The temps in my house are around 78-81 F degrees. I've used whole wheat each day for feeding. I started the culture and have fed it in the mornings. In Forkish's book you are supposed to leave the starter uncovered for the first two hours and then cover it until the next morning. So, that is what I've done each day.
Day 1: Doubled in size by the late evening, lots of bubbles (very gassy) smells the way Forkish described (leathery).
Day 2: Doubled in size by the end of the day (which Forkish said would happen), bubbly and gassy, leathery smell again (Forkish said it would be more of a sour smell at this point, which did not happen)
Day 3: When I woke up in the morning the culture that had doubled in size on Day 2 actually fell and turned into more of a pancake batter consistency, not too many bubbles, but still a leathery smell. I used a portion of the starter and added the same amount of whole wheat and water as before.
Day 4: Starter did not rise and still had the consistency of pancake batter. So I added the whole wheat flour and less water.
Day 5: I didn't do anything. Let the starter breathe a few times and then kept it covered.
Day 6: (Today): Still jas not risen and there are no bubbles. I opened up the container, left it air for a while and then decided to keep 1 cup of starter and add 1 cup King Arthur Bread Flour and water according to Reinhart.
What happened after Day 3? Why did the starter fall and lose its gassiness and become more of a pancake batter consistency? Should I have just started over or was it ok to use this starter and continue to feed according to the schedule?
Any help is much appreciated. Thanks!