Starter: Refresh before or after?
Everything I've read says that you should expand your starter by the amount you want to use in the bread hours before (or days, or whatever the case may be). I'm finding as I begin using starter for the first time that I tend to do the opposite: I pull from my stored starter and put it in the dough, replace the amount I took out, and put it back in the fridge.
So, instead of expanding the starter BEFORE I want to make bread, I tend to refresh AFTER I make it. What I mean is: I start with 2 cups of starter (which was last refreshed possibly days ago, maybe even a week) and pull out 1 cup for my bread. Then, I'll add back 1 cup of water/flour, mix it up, leave it out for a while (maybe), then toss it in the fridge so it's ready for next time. I end up doing it this way because I never plan far enough ahead to expand it specifically for making a loaf.
My questions are:
- Are the instructions to refresh hours or a day before you make it to prevent the starter from being TOO sour? (it seems like a recently expanded starter would be less sour)
- Is using starter that was expanded too long ago going to affect my rise...Im thinking maybe the yeast doesn't have enough food or is starting to wane?
- Is there a problem with refreshing then just tossing it in the fridge until I want some again (does it need to sit out first)?
My brain wasn't working yet this morning, so this was all written poorly...hopefully you get my drift. Thanks for reading!