This is an active starter, it is risen and has a lot of nice bubbles in it.
You can see how it his filled the jar, but still has room to rise. You can also see the bubbles in it.
I use a plastic or wood spoon to stir it and since mine fits in the jar I just leave it there. This starter was in the fridge for 3 days and fed yesterday, so that I could make it into bread today. If there is no hooch in it when you bring it out of the fridge then you can use it for pancakes, biscuits, or other flour based things. Just put the extra into the fridge till the weekend or when you have time to make them. If it has hooch in it, then you will need to throw the discarded amount away and you might need to feed it for a few days to get it in good shape.
I took 9 oz of starter out of the jar, this is approximately how much I use or discard each time I make sourdough bread.
See all those nice bubbles, that is what it is supposed to look like after you have stirred it in the jar and poured it into a measuring cup.
Doesn't look like much is left in the jar, but there's plenty for starting it over again. Hard to see here, but there is a nice size blob at the bottom. About the size of a ping pong ball. What a messy looking jar....
I use equal weights for my starter, but if you don't have a scale simply use about 1 cup flour to 1/2 cup water. If you aren't going to use the starter for a long time you can reduce the amount to a tablespoon of water and 2 tablespoons of flour, this still means you have to feed it each week but you throw away less starter.
I put room temperature water into the jar, stir with the spoon trying to wisk it around and mix the starter off the sides of the jar.
Or, if you have a jar with a lid that fits snug then put it on, pick it up and shake the water inside. This adds air to it and cleans the sides of the jar. Do not leave the lid on the jar afterward because it will build up pressure inside and explode.
Shaking jar, just be really careful not to drop it.
That helps the sides of the jar stay a little cleaner and you will be less likely to have mold inside it. If you don't do this you will have to have a fresh jar to change it to about once a month.
People use a lot of different things in their starters. I use cheap all purpose flour, just make sure it is unbleached. Why waste really good stuff when you can use this? If you feed it with the premium flour the day before you make bread that would probably do just as well. I have never done that, so I simply except that there will be roughly 4 oz of flour in my bread that is the cheap stuff.
Flour, same by weight as water.
Dump it into water in jar.
Stir it together with spoon, to make it like pancake batter. Thicker starter is easier to maintain then one with a lot of water in it.
Pancake batter.... and messy jar.
All mixed up.
Let it sit for 4 to 6 hours, approximately.
This is where it started.
Starting to rise....
You will find if you make bread out of a starter that is on the rise like this one is, that you will get a lot better rise out your dough and it will have a milder sour taste.
Big and little bubbles....
At this point I put it into the fridge for 3 days at a time, sometimes a full week.
Last shot before fridge...
Next morning, it has fallen a little bit but it should be fine. If I pull it out after 3 days I could use it to make another batch pretty quickly. If I wait a week it will take a feeding or two.
This is active enough that I could use it to make a loaf of bread and probably wouldn't discard any.
9 am on the 8th, still showing strong and could definitely make bread, but will wait till monday or tuesday. No hooch showing, really good. Making bread from this will give you a lot more sour flavor to it, and a slow rise which is good for the flavor.
really starting to see it shrink now, about 9 pm on the 8th
When I use this starter to make bread I would have to discard about 9 oz and feed it the day before using it to make bread. Photo taken on the 9th. Still no hooch, my starter is getting stronger, has no separation of liquid.