I'm trying to get a system in place where my main starter batch is already semi activated, i.e it is being fed at least once every day. From that point I want to find the quickest most convenient route to getting it it up to full strength. I have tried putting the starter in the still warm (from the previous night) oven, using warm water to feed it in the morning, feeding it at night and leaving it at room temperature 'till the morning, using different ratios of water/flour to control the rate of ferment. Many variations. All of which have their own problems!
I now like the idea of bringing it up to a workable temperature by adding a lot of room temperature water but then have no visual indications of what is going on! The main starter can also be getting its morning feed and I can leave that out of the fridge while it reactivates itself. The two processes can be done simultaneously thereby saving time and hopefully getting consistent results.
I have tried IDY but the flavor of the finished crust lends no comparison. It would be so eeeeasy but once you've gone natural yeast starter you can't go back. The lacto bacilllae add so much. My customers seem to agree and we get many comments on how great the crust is. Plus of course we're actually turning a profit now!
Thanks for your ideas John, ratio of 'starter to feed' was new to me and got the brain cells churning again! Any more thoughts are much appreciated.