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!
Some people let their cultures sit out on the counter, never
refrigerating them, and feed them a couple of times daily.