Avoid using metals when interacting with your culture as metal and acid react together and this is not the best environment for the SCOBY. I use glass mason jars for containers and a Spirtle for stirring. [wooden porridge stirrer] If you have multiple different sourdough types or cultures, I suggest dedicating a wooden spoon solely to that culture so you don’t cross culture your sourdoughs with each other. The metal lids on the jars don’t touch the culture, so that won’t affect it. If in doubt, line the lid with a coffee filter [leaving a hole for the airlock]
Day one. Mix 1/2 cup flour, 1 tablespoon sugar [day one only] and ABOUT 1/2 cup lukewarm water, and the package of starter powder in a very large mason jar. [This is going to grow big] Cover. I use the mason jar lids with an airlock as you would for fermentations or sauerkraut.
On the second day stir it up. Don’t worry if it separates and looks like it has liquid floating on top. This just means it’s hungry.
On the third day add an additional 1/2 cup flour and enough luke warm water to make it VERY thick, you should find it stiff to stir. Again, don’t panic if it separates out and you get the liquid layer. This indicates your starter has fed and used all the nutrients up. Stirring fixes this.
On the fourth day add about 1/2 cup lukewarm water and 1/2 cup flour, we now want the starter very very thick but somewhat easier to stir.
Day 5 remove half of the starter and put it in your ‘discard’ jar. This ‘discard’ is your first usable starter and can be used for pancakes, pretzels and other low rising recipes. If you forget to take half out, just double the feed the next day, and then take half out.
Day 6 – discard half, feed. By this time you should be judging the thickness of your starter and able to add your flour and water accordingly. If you can’t decide. Just do half a cup of flour and go from there. If it goes watery, add more.
Day 7 – You are now the proud owner of an active starter. You can feed and discard daily, OR you can put it in the fridge and feed once a week, or once a month, depending upon your baking schedule. To use a chilled starter, just take it out and let it warm up overnight. Feed, and bake away.