It appears that there are almost as many recipes for sourdough starter as there are enthusiasts, although most of the recipes I encounter online or in textbooks share basic similarities and vary mostly in the details. Along this line I want to ask the members of this community who frequently bake sourdough bread the following questions: I’m grateful for any considered responses.
Would you say: You have tried different starters in the past and have found that the outcome differences are too marginal and/or too unpredictable to justify the extra work involved in using and maintaining more than one-- anything else one reads about the virtues of maintaining more than one line of starter is the exaggeration of well-intentioned but over-zealous enthusiasts.
Would you say you maintain more than one starter: Principally as a safety measure, feeling you should maintain a back-up starter(s) in case something goes wrong with your usual formula.
Would you say: You maintain more than one starter mostly for academic reasons—you don’t notice marked differences in outcomes with different starters but you enjoy observing the varied behavior of different starters as they develop over time.
If you maintain and regularly use more than one starter in your baking, please say how many and how would you describe the different formulae you use? (For example, “I use starter X, developed from boiled potatoes and their water, for such-and-such recipes; starter Y I developed from einkorn flour and tend to use it with recipes incorporating that flour but occasionally also with…; starter Z I developed from rye flour and I use it in…because no other starter I tried in that recipe(s) yields such an open crumb and gratifying rise… ” etc.)
Do you find that you may have begun carefully following recipe instructions for starters and maintenance schedules but over time your own routines based on personal experience of what works for you in your own kitchen takes over. Your practice now departs substantially from when you went by the book. Are you willing to give a brief or detailed example?
Thanks in advance for any responses.