Starting Again: Day 5 PM and Day 6 AM
Someone sent me some info on a different method, one that follows many of the rules I've read before about getting a starter going. From that advice, I decided to feed the starter twice a day instead of once. I added 1/3 cup whole wheat flour and between a 1/4 and 1/3 cup of water. (That equals 50 grams of each ingredient) I covered it and left it alone overnight.
Day 6, first thing in the morning. The starter was looking a little better, and smelled more like sourdough than like dirt. There were some healthy looking bubbles. Not many, but enough to satisfy me. There was an almost indistinguishable layer of water on top.
I let it sit for another 3 hours, but checked it a few times during that period. It was looking healthy, but it wasn't exactly bursting with activity. I was smelling better, so that's a good sign. At 11:30 AM, I removed one cup of starter, gave the starter its first feeding of the day, again using 1/3 cup of flour (I used mostly whole wheat flour, but ran out and had to use a little bread flour too), and between 1/4 and 1/3 cup of water. Stirring it created a lot of bubbles, including some large ones, which is a good sign. It's covered up again, and I'll check it throughout. I think it's on its way back.
Instead of throwing out the cup of starter I removed, I put it in a mason jar and stuck in the back of the refrigerator. It's really cold back there, which will allow it go dormant without it freezing. (Although freezing is fine. I just want to see what it does in the refrigerator) If the starter I'm working on gives it up and croaks, I'll have some reserved to get another one going.