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Sourdough starter

     Michelle Leberte asked how to care for a sourdough starter. I keep my 
     starter in the refrigerator (NOT the freezer, which may kill the 
     lactobacilli responsible for imparting sour flavor) when I am not 
     using it. A couple of days before use, I bring it out and feed it with 
     lukewarm, chlorine-free water and unbleached white flour.  After ithe 
     stuff is nice and foamy (which takes a few to many hours, depending on 
     the culture, how long it has been sitting idle, temperature, etc.), I 
     feed it again with flour and water, then let it sit at room 
     temperature for 12-24 hours to get sour.  Finally, I feed the mixture 
     again.  I remove a cup or so, put it into its (washed) storage 
     container, let it sit out for about an hour, and return it to the 
     refrigerator (where it can sit happily, with no attention, for weeks 
     or months).  The remainder sits out on the counter until it is foamy, 
     then I'm ready to bake bread with it.
     If I'm making waffles or something for which sourness (and perhaps 
     even leavening power, if I'm using baking soda) is immaterial, I just 
     remove the culture from the refrigerator the night before, feed it, 
     and let it sit out until morning.  Then I remove the amount to be 
     saved, put it in its clean container, feed it a little, and put it 
     back into the refrigerator after about an hour.  The remaining starter 
     is ready to be used for waffles, pancakes, or whatever.
     I hope that this helps!
     Betsy Schmidt
     Some people let their cultures sit out on the counter, never 
     refrigerating them, and feed them a couple of times daily.