You got Ed Wood's book to help you, or Ed hisself?
My three had been out of the fridge for Thanksgiving, and per Wood's section on washing I think the experience was not good for them. They had been grumpy, revived well, then all three developed a weird skin on the surface. I was going to go through the washing process, but when I plucked the skin off, the batter below seemed fine. So I simply did a normal feeding, pouring off all but a cup of each and then adding flour and water. Voila. They were back and running in no time, happy as clams.
I think there's a different smell to each culture, and I wouldn't say it's exactly like beer or yeast or fresh bread. There is
a sourness to it, that's what it's producing and that's why it's named what it is. But I think you can tell a lot about the culture by the smell, including what I've characterized as happiness or grumpiness.
Incidentally, I was going to make chicken parm Sunday but decided to use up two refrigerated pizza doughs instead. It just seems that each new attempt gets better and better. Previously used a combo of parchment paper and cornmeal to transfer to the stone, but I had to slide the pie off the paper after a minute so it wouldn't burn. I had also stretched with a wet-finger method, and it didn't get as thin as I liked.
Sunday, I went back to rolling out on a floured surface. This enabled me to really get the dough thinner, I'd say it's thinner than 1/4", and the surface flour helped with browning at my oven temp of 550F-575F. Nice rise, nice crust ratio of chew to crunch, nice interior bubble. They're starting to like a lot more like the pics of pies posted here. If Santa brings me the digital camera I've asked for...
Oh, and the French culture made a superb pain au levain. Really tasty, and I even got a nice rise despite having to retard the dough in the fridge longer than recommended due to my work sched. Probably my best loaf and best pizza doughs yet. And I can't bake for sh**!!! Well, it's starting to look like I can after all...