(Another) Newbie trying to grow a sourdough starter - looking for feedback
I'm joining the growing ranks of people during quarantine who have become interested in growing a sourdough starter. I've read through a few discussions on this site that have been very helpful, but I'm looking for some guidance to see if I'm on the right track. I've learned that patience is the name of the game, but looking to get some opinions to make sure I'm not missing anything.
General things that have stayed the same during this experiment: water has been boiled/cooled before using and room temp is between 75-80. Below is the summary of what I've done so far (get prepared for a loooong summary):
Day 1 (started with KA starter guide)
8:00am // 113g wheat flour + 113g water
Starter had grown significantly in 24 hours, almost 2x in size. Did a feeding at 8:00am in a fresh jar with 113g starter + 113g (50/50 wheat + AP blend) + 113g water.
Throughout the day, had to stir the starter 3x due to significant expansion (I suspect from CO2/bacteria); stirred at 1:50pm, 4:50pm, and 8:30pm. Starter calmed down after the last stir.
Starter had a layer of hooch and smelled awful when I checked in the AM. Did a feeding at 8:00am into a new jar of 60g starter + 60g (wheat/AP mix) + 60g water.
Second feeding at 7pm of 60g starter + 60g (wheat/AP mix) + 60g water. Starter had a layer of hooch and small bubbles on the surface prior to this feeding, texture seemed to get more liquidity as the day went on. Awful smell significantly lessened today.
Based on what I read on this site, I didn't want to discard/overfeed while the yeast is developing. So I stirred and fed 1 tbsp flour mix at 7:20am and 6:40pm directly into the jar since the starter was liquidity (but had small bubbles). Smell seemed neutral - neither overly flour-y or sour.
Stirred without feeding at 7:10am and 3:10pm. Starter had less hooch and seemed less liquidity and had lots of small bubbles on the surface. Smell also seemed more sour/tangy.
Fed 1 tbsp of flour mixture at 7:20pm to give it some food for the evening. Overall texture seems thicker and had less hooch.
Today is day 6, and there was minimal change overnight. If anything, the number of bubbles seemed to decrease today. Texture seemed the same (not overly thick, but not runny) but there were less bubbles on the surface (see below). Stirred at 7:20am, no feeding.
In summary, am I on the right track to keep stirring and waiting for more significant activity? After reading multiple forums on this site, I'm cautious of not discarding/feeding when the yeast hasn't fully developed. But I'm not sure if my starter actually does require more food, or if I'm still in the waiting period (UGH).
Any feedback or guidance would be appreciated.