After my first failure with sourdough bread (and starter), I decided to give it another shot. I started my starter, Vesuvio II, 5 days before I wanted to make the bread, and after tinkering with that I think I figured it out. I still need to work on the bread recipe. I made a half recipe of this bread and it was way too sweet to be eaten on its own. I was happy, though, that it actually rose and had a distinctive sourdough flavor, which I can thank my starter for. I started out mixing together equal parts water and flour once a day but then the bubbling slowed and it was very thin. I switched to feeding it twice a day with slightly more flour than water, which brought it back to life. I think if I started it this way it would have been a more successful bread. It is now sitting in the fridge waiting for the next experiment in bread making.
In a large jar with a lid mix together a scant 1/4 cup water with a heaping 1/4 cup flour. Feed it the same amount of flour and water twice a day. Stir when you have a chance but it doesn’t need much attention besides the 2 feedings. You can pour off or stir back in the hooch which is the clear liquid that collects at the top of the starter. It’s a bad sign when too much forms because it means the starter is hungry.
I let mine grow for 5 days before using.
This is what a happy starter looks like. If your starter gets too big for the jar, you can take some out. After using it, I fed it once more and put it in the fridge. I plan to feed it once a week. When it’s time to use it again I’ll take it out a few days before to feed and wake it up.