This is getting to be too much work!
I love my sourdough bread, the taste is beyond words, but gosh I am finding it really hard now to keep making it.
I purchased my starter last year from a place called Hobbs Bakery here in the UK. When I got it I followed the instructions, which was to add some flour and water, leave on the side, wait a certain amount of time, use it, feed it, put it back in the fridge.
The first time I used it I only put the jar on the worktop in the kitchen, it was Winter so was cold, the starter was really lively and doubled with no problems and I assumed it would always be like that and that in the Summer it would probably double even quicker.
However I now find myself having to feed the starter 3 times before it doubles and I really don't understand why it's being so slow. This week the weather is glorious and hot and I thought the heat would really make the starter grow quickly. I took my starter out of the fridge where it had been since last week, fed it, gave it a good mix, put it in the airing cupboard for 12hrs to find it had only grown about half what it should. Fed it again, this time it only grew a quarter. Yesterday I fed it again and put it in the conservatory. After only 2hrs it had more than doubled and was at the top of the jar, so I know it works, just fed up with how long it takes and the random way it behaves.
It's now Thursday and I started on Tuesday and my loaves haven't even been baked yet and it seems a long time just to get a couple of loaves ready. I have two starters on the go as my husband likes a less sour taste so I have a white starter for him and my mum prefers the sour flavour so for her I have a wholemeal starter. As I use 200g of each starter for my bread I am having to feed each starter 100g of flour and 100ml of bottled water each feed to make sure I have 100g left for next time. The water is cheap but the flour not so cheap and I am throwing away a total of 800g of starter each week which seems very wasteful to me, apart from the mess of the stuff. I know some people use the starter they would throw away to make pancakes and stuff but I bake a lot of cakes and biscuits and don't really want to make anything but bread with my starter.
I've got to the stage now where I am thinking of just giving up and making regular yeasted bread :(