Caring for your sourdough starter -Your starter needs to be cared for to stay alive!
With no fridge:
I keep my starter out on the counter at room temperature and use it for baking two or three times a week which is enough to keep it alive and active. It often develops a dry crust on top, I just scrape this off before mixing down the rest of the starter to use for refreshing/baking. I usually refresh it about 12 hours before I will use it for baking so that the starter I use for my bread is nice and vibrant and bubbly.
To refresh your starter for baking:
Remove any crust from the top of the starter. Stir down the starter. Remove ¾ cup of starter and put in a mixing bowl. Add 1 ½ cups flour and ¾ cup water to the bowl and mix well. This will be your new starter so put it in a quart wide-mouth jar and cover with cloth as before. It will be risen enough in about 10 hours or so to use for baking.
You can discard/compost the remainder of the starter, or feed it to your chickens, or use it to make sourdough pancakes.
If you are just baking once a week you can keep your starter in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature before refreshing it as above. It is now ready to use.
After taking the portion of starter out for the next batch of starter (3/4 c) I find that I have 1 cup of starter to use for baking, which is enough for most of my recipes. However you can increase your starter if you feel you will need more:
To increase your starter
Stir down your starter, add 1 cup of flour and ½ cup of water without removing any starter. Mix well and allow to rise. You may want to put this in 2 jars if you find it oozes out the top.
Or, remove 3/4 c starter, add 1 1/2 c flour and 3/4 c water to make a new starter. Then do this again to make a second one. You will have some starter remaining which you can compost, or use to make pancakes, or, feed to the chickens.