Up until now I have kept one starter (white 100% hydration). It's incredibly healthy and gives me reliable results most of the time (OK well I exaggerate - it's reliable when everything else is also in place)
However I realise that there are many different ways to maintain a sourdough starter - different flours/grains used in feeding, different hydrations etc. How do the differnet starters impact the flavour or character of the bread?
I presume that they each have a different balance of bacteria, yeast etc. Please tell me your experiences and opinions on the relative merits of each.
For example what would be the difference between a loaf made with rye starter and white flour versus one using a white starter and a mixture of rye and white flours in the final dough (keeping total percentages the same in both)?
If there would be a big difference, could I go some way to addressing that by using intermediate builds which introduce increasing percentages of rye? For that matter, can I permanently convert a some white starter to a rye starter...how long would it take before I can notice the results? First feed? One week? Two weeks? Or am I forever limited by the original incarnation of the starter? (In my case it actually did start off partly rye I *think*...I'm embarrassed to admit I've forgotten!)
Eek I'm asking a lot of questions!
In summary, essentially what I'm asking is: do I need to start a completely new starter for rye, WW etc. which would require maintaing several different starters at once or can I just convert part of the mother (white) starter as and when the need arises?
(PS my oven is out of action (read: broken) , so no baking for at least the next few days - plenty of time for me to be pondering starters!)