Stiff starter (50% hydration) failure
In December, I started experimenting with building a stiff sourdough starter. It has been a failure.
I started by first making a 100%-hydration starter using fizzy raisin yeast water and Bob's Red Mill organic AP flour. The raisins are mostly organic Flame raisins with some of the Monukka variety, rinsed to rid the oil. I let that starter sit for 2 days. Then, using 16g of that as seed starter, I began a daily refreshment regimen of 16g starter (discarding the dryer outer skin), 16g AP flour, and 8g raisin water. I would knead the dough into a boule (about the size of a medium egg) and place it in a lidded jar.
On a handful of occasions it was able to yield 60% rise; and a few times, 2X rise. But most of the time the dough ball hardly budged. I kept the jar a few inches from a heater grate (gentle gas type that sits under a grate in the floor). My kitchen was consistently around 67ºF, with the last 2 weeks up to 71ºF; that's where I do the mixing and kneading.
The past two or three weeks, the starter dough hardly budged, smelled quite vinegary, as did the raisin water. The inside had a pasty consistency (like peanut butter) with insignificant signs of activity (tiny voids) if at all. Today I sampled a raisin out of the water, and it was still plump and sturdy and tasted no more acidic than a weak Granny Smith apple.
On this the 64th day of this regimen/experiment, I saw no progress and just discarded everything.
What went wrong?