Stalled sourdough starter
Hello all from Ottawa,
This is my first post here. I'm a middle aged male from Canada, attempting my first sourdough starter. I've been doing a lot of reading and learning at this excellent site for a few weeks now, but I have hit a seemingly brick wall that I could use some advice to get through. My new starter has stalled, and I can't figure out why.
My first attempt using equal weights of white flour and spring water turned into a smelly mess on day two, so I tossed it and found my way to this site. Found Debra Wink's pineapple method (what a great resource and nice person she is!), and had good luck with getting the second attempt going using wheat flour and pineapple juice. All seemed to be going as it should, and on day four after feeding at 1:1:1, it almost doubled in about 8 hours. It smelled good, and had lots of tiny bubbles. I was sure I was on my way. I began feeding every 8 - 12 hours. The next feeding I switched to white flour, and went to a 1:2:2 feeding. I'm using bottled spring water, and I do have a gram scale, so I am going by weight, not volume. At this point it stopped. No rise at all, though it does get some surface bubbles and a very few tiny bubbles. Several feedings later, and still no rise. I thought maybe I was overfeeding it, so I let it sit for a day with no feeding. It started smelling like nail polish remover, so I knew from some research here that it was getting hungry, and overfeeding was not the problem. Fed it again at 1:1:1. Nail polish remover smell went away, but still no rise. Fed it at 1:3:3. Nothing. Fed it again at 1:2:2. Zip. Tried using tap water instead of spring water. No difference. It smells okay, no stink, no acetone smell, no hootch. It's like stiff pancake batter, and very stretchy. So my last feeding an hour ago, I switched back to the wheat flour to see if that would give it a boost. It's been 2 hours and so far nothing. All this time I have had it in a beaker with a graduated scale, and I set up a camera to take a pic every 5 minutes while I am at work, so I know it is not rising and falling before I come home. I have a thermometer right beside the beaker, and it averages 74 degrees. I would attach pics if I could, but that doesn't seem possible unless the pics are online. Any advice much appreciated!