After a little reading online and in books, I started my starter last September and I’ve been going strong with an averaged of one dough per week, usually used to make a double bactch of sourdough pizza. But since I’m sort of self-taught, I need to give a bit of methodology background before I state the problem I’m having.
I had been succeeding before early May with the following process. I would take out 5oz out of a 10 oz of starter in my fridge and plop this in a large glass casserole. Then I would of course feed my starter with 2.5/2.5 ounces water/flour (unbleached white) and then also feed the starter in my casserole. The starter went back in the fridge (perhaps after an hour on the counter) and the casserole went in my oven, very lightly warmed.
Then I would feed my casserole starter again to double it (total bulk now 20 oz) and give it another 8 hours and then feed it again, total bulk now 40 oz and ready to put in my salt, little honey, 6 oz whole spelt, 6 oz whole wheat, 20 minutes kneading, cut into two balls and refrigerated.
When ready to use, anywhere from 24 for 72 hours, I would coat the dough lightly with bacon grease, shape it for my pizza, cover it with an oven bag, and let it rise for eight hours it slightly warmed oven before adding toppings and baking to a delicious perfection. Keep in mind, so far so good, so nothing so far should be a problem.
In May we went to Florida for a couple of weeks and I took my starter along, which meant some cooler time, but nothing that should have exposed it to great heat, used it once a week in Florida and came home.
Now comes the trouble: since the trip to Florida the above process yields a shaped dough that rises, a bit, but not as much as before, and worse, the resulting dough seems more vunerable than before to coming apart when it’s being shaped into a flat pizza dough. A possible additional clue is that my fridge starter seems like it want to pop the top off the cottage cheese container lid 48 hours after it’s been in the fridge and I don’t remember it being this way before.
It’s as if my starter is growing more aggressively and perhaps being past its prime when I’m ready to use it.
Of course, since May, it is warmer here in Ohio, but we haven’t had much of the kind of heat until just this last week that I would expect to change things much for the starter outside the fridge and inside, well, that’s refrigerated (except of course the flour I put in is at a warmer room temp).
Okay, that’s enough info for now, I’ll bet. Any sourdough Sherlocks out there hear the essential clue for solving my mysery? ☺