Sourdough starter not passing float test, doubles in size quickly then collapses 5 hours after feeding...
Hi, I'm new here, trying to make a sourdough starter from scratch - it's now been now over 2 weeks with daily feedings, and I've been using the 1:1:1 ratio.
After a feeding, it doubles in size, then collapses back to the same level it was at at the start within 5 hours.
It smells like bread now, so I keep hoping it's ready to use to make bread, but it never passes the float test.
I have NEVER tested it when it was at it's height, but only after it collapses back to its initial level. Is this my problem? Is the starter only good to use for bread for a small window of time, and do I need to grab it and use it when it's nearing it's highest level?
Or do I need to adjust my ratio?
I keep waiting about 24 hours before feeding again - but I am noticing that this starter I'm making seems to reach it's height, which looks like about 2X the initial height, around 4 hours after feeding it. 5 hours after feeding, it's collapsed back down again. Should I be feeding every 12 hours to hurry this process along? Or is it still processing and becoming more sourdough-ey for the rest of that time? I just feel like maybe I'm wasting time by waiting to feed until a full day has gone by if the sourdough is definitely not rising any more.
Any help appreciated!
The photo is of the starter at its height, 4.5 hours after feeding. I tried the float test just a few min after taking this photo. When I stuck a spoon in to stir it up and scoop out a blob to drop in water, the starter collapsed back to just a couple millimeters above the starting level. And the scoop of starter that I dropped into water sunk.