science of sourdough feeding
What exactly happens when you feed a starter?
Say you have a starter with population density of X yeast/bacteria cells per gram of starter. After you feed it, the density is X/3 for a 1:1:1 feeding (or X/5 for 1:2:2, etc.). Eventually the density will reach X again. Does that happen when the starter reaches it peak, or before/after? Does the population density fall when the starter falls?
Relatedly, what does it really mean for a starter to be "ready"? Is that referring to population density or something else about yeast/bacteria metabolism?
I've not found a clear answer to these questions. It seems to have some implications for the "lazy sourdough" approach where people don't particularly time their baking to the sourdough cycle.