|1 cup||bread flour||really this could be any flour, I used a hard red spring whole wheat flour, but if you're going gluten-free you may need to cheat a little and add a teaspoon of dry active yeast|
|1 cup||warm filtered water (90F)||if your tap water is heavily chlorinated, you may want to try bottled water. Chlorine doesn't come out with at home filters or boiling.|
|1 tbsp||honey or agave nectar||This is unconventional but it's my uber-secret for fantastic sourdough|
1. Whisk your honey or nectar into the warm water until it's dissolved. If you're using a gluten-free flour, add your teaspoon of dry active yeast and whisk gently. Whisk in the flour. Scrape into a large (4 cup or so) open-mouth container, like a large Mason jar, Pyrex measuring cup, whatever. Glass and ceramic both work well for temperature consistency.
2. Using two layers of wet cheese cloth and a rubber band, cover the top of your container with this and keep it tight. I use cheese cloth because starter needs to breathe, and if the air is dry I can spritz the cloth with water. You can punch a hole in a lid if you want. Both ways work.
3. Keep in a nice warm place (75-82 F). I keep it on the back of my gas stove because the pilot lights will keep that general area at a comfy 76. This colony of yeast will be very hard to kill, EXCEPT with heat; 100 F is too warm.
4. Every 24 hours, remove half of your starter and replace it with a mixture of 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup warm water, and a teaspoon of honey. After about 3 days you should have a very frothy mixture with a liquid layer that looks and smells like beer. The watery layer is called 'hooch' and it can be stirred back into the starter every time you feed it or poured off if you feel like things are too wet. Either is fine.
Around day 7 your starter is ready for bread making! Remove a cup, and feed.
As a note, location plays a huge roll in how soon your stuff will become very full of live yeast. In my apartment, it happens practically over-night, but I let things go for a week because the honey creates a mead flavour that I LOVE.
5. Once a week of feeding is over, you can refrigerate it forever. It's hard to starve it in this state, so don't worry about feeding it unless you take some away for bread making.