I've been reading a lot more about sourdough starters (see, I called it a "culture"! Ha! Nothing gets by me. :)) and they way they work.
I read the section in Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads, discovering that he makes a "Mother starter" from his seed culture, something I didn't do with George, my River Cottage starter. Hauling out The River Cottage Bread Handbook, thinking I had missed something despite reading it closely, it seems that George doesn't have to be made into a "Mother starter" (or "Father starter" in his case), that the River Cottage uses the starter in a different manner. So George is alright, I gave him a nice stirdown today, he was nicely frothy and smelling more sour.
The new starter, tentatively named "Phyllida" although I'm not married to that, is progressing more slowly than George did at this point. I added the 2 tbs whole wheat flour/pineapple juice yesterday to begin, coming back and adding a 1/2 tsp more juice to get it a bit wetter a few hours later and a few hours after than giving it a bit of a stir for 30 seconds to aerate it. It seems the more air you add the better it can be. There were a few small bubbles, but nothing really active.
Noticed the separated liquid on top of the starter, stirred it back in. Apparently it's called "hootch" and not a problem. It smelled like latex paint.
Today at 11:30am I added 2 tbs whole wheat flour/pineapple juice to the original, not discarding anything. Again I beat it for about 30 seconds. Hootch again on top, still smells like latex paint, and a few small bubbles, but still nothing really active.
I'll stir it again later this afternoon just to keep it airy.
Before I finish this post, I'll give you the definition of "Mother starter" from The Yumarama Bread Blog, I love their page of terms:
Mother StarterThe Mother Starter is the “go to” sourdough starter from which you would then cultivate new batches for each baking session. It is always maintained, typically it is kept in the refrigerator and fed weekly. In my kitchen, it is never completely used up so that I retain at least a couple tablespoons to grow more “mother” starter. Some recipes tell you to use the mother in building the dough, then keep some of the now built up bulk starter and turn it back into your mother. I don’t do it that way for the very real fear that one day I’ll forget to “keep some back” and bake the whole thing, loosing my starter in the process. Yes, it happens. So instead I always use a “discard” from a feed to build up the required dough starter. It works precisely the same without the risk of baking your mother by accident. And you don’t want to bake your mother, right?
This is also referred to as a “Chef starter” or simply “starter”.
And in my house, it has also referred to, over time, as Audrey, Carl and, currently, PJ. Yes, my starter has a name. No, I’m not the only one with a named starter (in cases you were wondering).