1 cup whole wheat flour (can use unbleached white or rye, or other hard flour)
1 cup warm water (if using chlorinated city water let sit for at least 24 hours to evaporate the chlorine)
1/4 teaspoon yeast (yes this is cheating! and optional)
1 tablespoon honey (unpasteurized; optional)
Only use non metal instruments and containers; otherwise it may give an off flavour to the starter.
In a wide mouth container, mix all of the ingredients. Loosely cover and let stand at room temp (at least 20 C) for 24 hours.
Feeding the starter:
Remove* half the starter, and add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour every 24 hours mixing well with a wooden or plastic whisk. Storing at room temperature at all times. Within 3 to 7 days it should be bubbling, frothy and have a faint sour smell. Now it is "starter".
Refrigerate and feed once weekly with 1/2 cup room temp water and 1/2 cup flour
* I removed half the starter, kept it aside, used only 1/4 cup water and flour for feeding and about day 4, added the "removed" starter back into the original glass bowl. It smells sour at this point, but not bad or "off"
When you need to use your starter for your dough, stir, remove the volume you need for your recipe, and store at room temperature for several hours (or overnight) to let it warm. Return the remainder to the fridge after "feeding" it.
More background can be found on this site http://www.io.com/~sjohn/sour.htm The above recipe is my variation of the advice given from several sites. I'll post the bread recipe once I know if it turns out.