* established sourdough starter (optional)
* filtered water
1. Starting the sourdough: Whisk 1/4 cup flour with sourdough starter (if using) and 3 tablespsoons filtered water in a small bowl. Pour this into a jar, and let it sit for twelve hours. Twelve hours later, whisk in 1/2 cup flour with 1/3 cup filtered water and continue adding 1/2 cup flour and 1/3 cup water every twelve hours for one week until your starter is brisk and bubbling. As you feed your starter, take care to whisk in the flour and water thoroughly into the established starter aerating the starter will help to yield the best and most reliable results.
2. To accomodate for expansion of the sourdough when it's fed, make sure that your jar is only half full after each feeding. If you've made too much sourdough starter for the capacity of your jar, pour some off and use it in sourdough biscuits, sourdough pancakes or sourdough crackers
3. Maintaining the sourdough: After a week, your sourdough should be sturdy enough to withstand storage. If you bake infrequently (that is: if you bake less than once a week), you can store your sourdough in the refrigerator, bring it to room temperature and feed it well about twelve hours before you plan to bake. If you bake more frequently (every day or a few times a week) you can store your sourdough at room temperature and feed it with 1/2 cup flour and 1/3 cup filtered water once a day.
4. Special considerations: If a brown liquid appears floating on top of your sourdough starter, simply pour it off. Sourdough bakers call this liquid a hooch, and it is harmless; however, it often signifies that you've fed your starter too much water in relation to flour or have let your starter go too long between feedings. Sourdough starters are relatively resilient, and bounce back quickly once you resume proper care of them.
Edited by MotorcycleChick - 1/30/16 at 10:09pm