Sourdough is a mysterious and beautiful thing. Mix together flour and water, and you have a living thing that will raise your dough and add rich flavors and a chewy texture. True sourdough is a thing to behold. Like any fermented food, sourdough is unique each time you make it. Once you master HOW to make it properly, then you will be able to tweak the recipe to your satisfaction each time.
I enjoy making and using a sourdough in my kitchen. Although I have used just the sourdough as leavening, I usually add additional dry yeast to speed up the process. The delicous taste and texture remains, but I control the time it takes to make and bake much better. Once you make your sourdough, use it! Try to use some at least once a week, to keep the starter from becoming too sour (although this is easily remedied by adding more flour and allowing it to work until bubbly once again). If you use your sourdough at least once a week, it is fine to leave it in a cool, dark place, like your cubboard. If you use it less often, place the starter in a jar in the fridge and remove it to the counter to come to room temperature, before baking. My starter lives in a beanpot in my cupboard.
Here are some of my favorite sourdough recipes, although there is nothing wrong with substituting sourdough for part of any baked recipe. Enjoy!