I've been trying to make starter for about 3 weeks now, and a week ago, it started to look and smell like actual sourdough starter-- it had lots of bubbles, it had a pleasent, almost vinegar-y smell, and it seemed like it would be ready for its first loaf soon. I had to leave on a trip for a week though, and while I was gone, I had my brother look after it, and during that week, he used way too much water (he was assing one cup of flour and one cup of water, while I usually add a half a cup of water and 1 cup of flour), and by the time I got back, it smelled so sharp that it burned my nose a bit. On top of that, it was super thin and liquidy, and there weren't very meny bubbles. Luckily, I put some of the good starter in my fridge before I left, so hopefully after reviving and feeding it, it will pick up where it left off. But is the starter that my brother was taking care of worth saving, or should I just discard it?
Also, how long before I can use it for baking? How can I tell when it's ready?
Once I'm ready to bake, what recipe should I use? I've never made sourdough bread (I'm actually new to all kinds of baking in general), so I don't want a recipe that's super complicated. I do want a sourdough recipe that makes delicious sourdough bread with the crunchy crust, so if anyone knows of a tasty, simple recipe, let me know!