Hi, newbie first attempt:
Fresh ground flours, super pure filtered water, ambient temp 70 degress F., mix 50:50 by volume so about like pancake batter.
Started with rye flour. First bubbles at 24 hours so fed it. In next 5-6 hours much more than doubled in size! So fed it again and in another 4-5 hours 2 1/2 - 3 times size increase...Repeat several times. Then switched to kamut flour (what I wanted to end up with) and same explosive growth.
Decided in part for convenience but more to push development of sourness (since still very little in evidence) I cut way back on the water at next feeding and made it about consistency of yogurt. And...nothing, zero activity after 24 hours so fed it again and still nothing. So after 12 more hours fed it with rye again and last night again with rye and this morning...still nothing.
Wha happen'd? Any suggestions gratefully accepted!
Got it figured. I am grinding my own flour in high powered blender (BlendTec) and I like it/prefer it coarse so do not grind all the way to fine powder. I think very coarse grind behaves differently in water and that was the problem; it stays a bit more granular and doen't not fill up the space between the granules as well. So the line between too much and not enough hydration is different. I went by eyeball and have ended up w/ 2 parts flour to 1 part water with consistency of pudding really. If I add enough flour to make bread dough consistency it quites altogether and goes "dead". Last night I just put a bunch of starter "as is" into bread pan, let it rise over night, and baked it. Came out great! though I do like dense, crunchy-chewy bread, perfect to me.
Also, I think I was jumping the gun and feeding it more often than necessary. I now just let it do its thing for 12 hours no matter how much it bubbles. Today transfered to fridge for storage.
I think this why I have been having trouble with a "dead" starter. I have been using wholemeal organic spelt and my mix has probably been too dry. I will change to plain flour with a wetter mix.