I read Jeff's manifesto 10 times when I started this addiction 4 months ago and was really successful at first but now I'm in a slump. These could be repeat questions but I searched the forums and could not find answers. There's also too much conflicting info on other sites. I live in SW Fla. and we've recently started having cold snaps so maybe that's why my starters are failing?
(Jeff I can't wait to hit your place when it opens in Buckhead. I'm in IT Sales and up there every week looking for new places. Good luck with it!)
1. I've had very good success with my own starter. Some great (almost jeff-like) results. I recently bought a San Francisco Sourdough Starter, it starts out fine, but each time I've gotten mold within 2 days. Everything is as sterile as possible. Would bananas or cantalope on a nearby counter interfere? Thoughts?
2. A number of times, after my starter reaches the perfect bubbly pancake batter stage, (both mine and the SF one) I'll feed it more, stir it in with a wooden or plastic stirrer, and it's almost like I killed it. It doesn't bubble anymore, then comes mold, then I just throw it out. What gives?
3. In general I can't seem to progress my starters. When you get a starter to the right stage, do you HAVE to remove a cup before you feed it? Or can you just add 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup bottled water and stir it in? At this pace I might be better off just creating a new starter batch 3-4 days before each pizza making run.
4. I nomally use a clean dannon yogurt container for starters. I poke a couple of holes in the lid and cover it. I've also heard to wrap the lid tight in saran with a rubber band after the first 24 hours as the bacteria does better without air. I've also heard to use a cheesecloth. Which is the best way to cover it?
Thanks all. IMO, sourdough is the best pizza around!