I've mentioned this recipe before, which comes from that nice Judy's blog, Recipes From A Southern Country Cook. This time I am quoting the whole thing--Judy's words are in italics, so that I can add my own notes as necessary.
3 tablespoons instant mashed potato flakes
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast or one package
Combine all ingredients in a glass container, stir with wooden spoon. Cover with clean dish cloth or cheese cloth and let sit for 5 days, stirring daily with wooden spoon.
On the morning of the 5th day, feed the starter 3 tablespoons instant potatoes, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1 cup warm water. Stir and cover and let stand until evening or at least 6 hours.
Remove one cup of starter and place the bowl in the refrigerator covered with saran wrap leaving a small opening on each side of the wrap. The starter needs to be able to breathe.
Every 5 days repeat feeding instructions and remove 1 cup and discard or make bread.
Sourdough Bread Recipe
1 cup sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup corn oil (can use vegetable or canola)
6 cups all-purpose flour
Mix sugar, oil, salt, water and starter in a large bowl. Add flour. Turn out onto floured surface and knead several times until forms a ball adding flour if needed. Place the dough into a large, oiled bowl, turn once so that dough will be greased, cover with clean dish towel and let rise overnight.
The next day, punch the dough down, turn out onto floured surface, knead for several minutes, divide in half, place in 2 greased bread pans. Cover and let double in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Turn out to cool.
This bread makes your kitchen smell great while cooking and makes two great loaves of fresh bread for your family.
3/2/09: I still have my starter going from last October. After a couple of months it started to smell strange to me--sweet, with an overripe banana kind of scent--and it wasn't sour at all. Following my sister's lead, I stopped adding the 3 tbl. of sugar and 3 tbl. of potato flakes along with the cup of warm water every week. Instead, we add a tiny pinch or two of sugar and some flour (maybe 1/4 cup), plus the occasional bit of potato flakes, all of which is well whisked in, then the water is added. The starter is placed in a warm bowl, uncovered, in a slightly warmed oven--I preheat slightly at the lowest temp available, turn off the heat and turn on the oven light. The starter can stay in there all day or all night. It's getting way more sour and the bread is getting better and better.