Been reading the forum and found it full of useful information. So, I'm starting with sourdough baking and am having serious problems with the starter.
A year ago I bought two italian cultures from Ed Wood (of Sourdo.com), threw it to the refrigerator, and wanted to start them a month ago. I followed the instructions pretty carefully (100% hydration, 27-30ºC, 24 hour for 1st feeding, 12 hour subsequent one) and got nothing out of it. The first one didn't have a single bubble, the second one got a bit bubbly on the 1st feeding, but nothing after. I thought it might be because of the long time on my refrigerator, so after a week I throw both away and bought new ones — also, the starters had a milky/cheesy aroma at the first, the more I feed them, the more alcoholic ("acetonic"?) they turned, which didn't look good to me.
The day before yesterday I received the new cultures and decided to start one of them right away. So I mixed 1 ounce of the culture with 220 grs. of organic (bleached) flour and 250 ml. of warm (not hot) bottled water and put it into a closet at 30ºC.
Here's a photo of the starter just after the mix:
After 16 hours the starter was reallly active, full of bubbles and more than doubled its size, and I was pretty happy. I couldn't do a refeed at that moment, so I did the feeding at 22 hours (yesterday, late at night). At that moment the starter did show a bit of recession and a layer of hooch in the middle. Here's the photo:
To do the feeding, I threw away half of the starter, replaced it with 50/50 flour/water and put it back to the closet. This time the temp for proofing was 25ºC, though. And this morning after getting up, the shock:
The starter seemed not to be active at all! Just like the previous ones, it had a layer of water (don't know if it's hooch of simple separated water) and no signs of activity.
This morning I've thrown away half of it and replaced with 50/50 flour/water again.
Do you know what might be happening? Am I doing something wrong?