Very hungry starter and some other beginer sour dough questions
I'm totally new to sour dough, i've been doing as much reading as time permits, but with all the varried opinions out there I think I need some help.
I started my first starter about two weeks ago using the orange juice method described in The Fresh Loaf hand book. All went well, I switched from whole wheat to white AP flour on day four and "Jethro" has been growing well ever since. After reading an old post by Jmonkey I decided to convert it to a 50% starter around day 7 or 8. I was tired of the mess of measuring cups covered in 100% hydration dough, and I was intrigued by JMonkey's claims that stiffer starter apparently cultivate more of the 'sour' organism than wet starters. I'm surprised however that even though my starter is at 50% Hydration its still pretty sticky when I feed it. I mix it in the container, then kneed it a bit on the counter, but I'm still left with dough all over my hands. I don't at all mind playing with wet dough when making bread, but cleaning up the mess twice a day is less fun. Now I'm not sure which is less messy, 100% or 50% hydration.
Around day 10 or so I noticed that the starter had a rather sour, alcohol smell, and some quick research told me I need to feed it more. So I started a twice daily feeding at 1:2.5:5[s:w:f]. The smell improved a little, but still didn't have any yeasty smell to it. Today when I went to give it its morning feed it smelled pretty sour again, so in hopes of giving it more food I gave it a 1:5:10[S:W:F] feeding to see what happens.I have no thermostat in my house, so I don't know the temperature, but I'd guess its around 25C or a little above with pretty high humidity. I usually bake a 3-4 times a week so I decided to keep my starter on the counter.
I'm essentially trying to figure out what a good starter maintenance system would be for me at this point. I love making bread, but feeding my starter twice a day is a little much given my present life circumstances. So all that said, on to my questions.
1: Do any of you have some some to share regarding "Jethro's" veracious appetite?
2:I'm wondering if storing it in the fridge might be a good idea, I've read of some people keeping their starter in the fridge, then taking some out to the counter to bulk up for baking the day before.
3: Any wisdom regarding ease of maintaining a 50% vs 100% starter? If I kept it in the fridge the mess of a 100% wouldn't be so bad, but as I said my 50% is curiously sticky at feed time. Once needed the dough is fairly dry, but the ripe starter is rather sticky.
Thanks in advance for any help you might be able to provide