One very slight hiccup was that at the end of the first week, we were scheduled to go interstate for the weekend. I had organized child minding and someone to feed the goldfish, but neglected to organize feeding of the sourdough culture! When I returned, and lifted the lid, I was nearly knocked over by the fumes smelling of acetone. That's correct.... acetone! My neglected, unloved yeast had responded to it's mothers absence by throwing a tantrum and produced nail polish remover.
I managed this as I do in any first world, modern day crisis. I headed straight to google to find answers. And sure enough, I discovered when yeast that has used up all of it's food, becomes stressed, or if the wrong microbes take over, it starts to produce acetone.
After a bit more, very regular feeding, this condition seemed to correct itself and the starter went on to produce a fabulous loaf of bread, with the appropriate amount of lightness and crispy crust. The webpage that gave me even more easy to understand advice is found here.
Mix together in a clean container with a lid to cover. Every 24 hrs, discard half and replace with half a cup plain flour and half a cup of warm water. I used mine after about 2weeks but I have read that you can use it as soon as it shows signs of life ie bubbling, a yeasty smell and increasing volume.
Allow loaf to rise again and bake in hot oven until golden. I brushed my uncooked loaf with milk and sprinkled it with some fine polenta for some extra crunch and texture.
I did some baking for my childrens school fete this weekend (for my non Australian readers, this is a fundraising festival which usually includes homemade goods). I made more than 150 of my very popular brownies as my contribution, and was so pleased that every last one sold! I have never actually sold anything I have cooked before so needless to say, it was very satisfying to see total strangers appreciating my efforts. I should declare that several of my friends showed up and bought their share too. Fantastic encouragement from my friends and I thank all of them for their appreciation and support for our school.
You can find the recipe for my brownies here.