Hi!. I'm a newbie at sourdough breadmaking, I just started a liquid starter last Saturday, I have absolutely no idea whether its good or not. I'll describe what I did, can you see if it's ok or should I discard and make a new one using Dom's instruction. I followed the starter instructions from Joy of Cooking. I only came across this forum a few days ago.
I started with 1 cup warm milk Full fat UHT, 1cup all purpose flour and 2/3 cup caster sugar. Stir together, then allowed to sit on my counter for 2 days ( supposedly yeast spores would colonise my starter, I have made yeast bread before and regularly at least once a week). On 3rd day, I covered it with one layer of thin muslin, then on 4th day I covered with cling wrap. I've been stirring it down everyday, sometimes 2 times a day. Very fine bubbles and it smells strong, but no doubling or big bubbles. Yesterday morning, a bit of sour smell, so I put it into the fridge (I was thinking maybe it was going bad?). Then after thinking about it all day, I decided to take it out again, and left it out last night and today. Some small ants got in, died on the side of the bowl and became mouldy, but the starter is not mouldy and the ants that died in the starter did not become mouldy. I wiped the side of the bowl clean of the mouldy ants and have left the starter on the counter again, covered with the clingwrap. My indoor temperature is fairly constant, probably around 26-28 degrees Celcius. I live in Malaysia, so no wintery weather to speak of.
I have not fed the starter as the instructions said to leave it for 4-7 days. Am itching to make a loaf of bread, so am thinking to use a cup tonight, perhaps add some regular yeast just in case the starter is not robust and to refresh the rest of the starter and leave it to mature more.
1)Should I be feeding the starter? Its very liquidy. How much flour and milk should I add?
2) Does the starter sound right? Should I discard and start over?
3) Is it ok to add some instant yeast to my bread tonight just in case the starter is not mature enough?
Appreciate all and any feedback. Can't wait to try some of the recipes on this site.