When has a starter peaked if doubling is not a telling sign?
after some recent misadventures with my starter and the following conversations on the forum, I came to question this idea of doubling in size as the ultimate sign of peaking. I use dark organic rye for my starter and indeed the mixture even at 100% hydration is very solid. In a small/tall jar, it makes sense that the starter would be firm enough to stay up even past its peak time. Similarly, on the opposite side of the spectrum, when I tried AP to make a starter it was very liquid and never doubled, even tho it had lots of bubbles throughout, but with nothing to trap them that shouldn't have been a surprise.
So, if doubling is not a sign of peaking, how do I tell when my starter is ready? I often do the float test and even what I think may have been past-peak starter still passed it. Also saying that it'll be peaked at X time seems weird, how do you know that time to start with?
thank you in advance for any insight,