Having some wild starter (white flour) issues so figured I'd bounce this off the collective braintrust here on the forum! Been a while since I posted anything.
I've been using the same culture for a year or more with no problems, until just a few days ago.
I've attempted to use the starter in four different doughs and it's painfully obvious that the culture has become extremely proteolytic for some reason.
It's totally digesting the dough in pretty short order. Nothing else seems wrong with the starter - it doesn't smell bad or look bad (other than being soupier than it should be). I read others mentioning an Acetone smell but that is not the case here.
I'm pretty freaked out because I've been using this culture for a long time with no hint of excessive protease activity in the past.
A note on how I use my culture: I keep a small amount of 100% hydration barm in the fridge, then when I want to bake, I will take a small portion from the fridge and feed it/build it out at room temp to the amount I need for the recipe. I may even do a second build to a "firm starter" before mixing the final dough.
So the Mother stays in the fridge, in other words. Usually every 2 weeks or less I will just about run out of cold Mother so I will just make a new batch expressly for replinishing, and put it back in the fridge.
This may or may not be ideal, but it's worked extremely well for me and for my liking (as you can guess, my breads are barely sour if at all, and I like it fine that way).
So my questions are:
1. Can the culture be saved? If so, how?
2. Out of curiosity, any thoughts on why this happened?
Thanks guys and gals,