I may have saved my starter from impending death!
I've been busy the last couple of weeks and forgetting my weekly sourdough feeding. Pouring off the hooch, yes, feeding it, no.
Yesterday I resolved to feed the poor little starter. When I pulled it out of the refrigerator, opened the jar, and smelled ... uh-oh. Didn't smell right. But I made up some flour and water, put in a teaspoon of the old starter, threw out the rest, and hoped for the best. Left it overnight. This morning, it still didn't smell right.
I took a chance. I made up a new batch of starter (fresh flour and water, plus a teaspoon of the old) and put it in the fridge. Then I added flour, a bit of regular yeast, and water to the poolish that had been fermenting overnight. Was I wasting flour? What would happen?
No final report yet, but the bread is rising, if slowly. I tasted the dough. NICE and sour. I may have saved my starter. Stay tuned.