I was skimming over this thread as I prepare to revive my breadmaking. We were grain free for a couple months, and so the sourdough slept in it's pot in the fridge. It's taken several days for it to get back to a smell/bubbly consistency that I'm happy with.
I ordered this little book awhile back, and it is excellent (VERY simple and VERY cheap): http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASI...922525-3231223
I found that by starting really simple like the author suggests, with just starter, salt, and flour, I got the best bread. I have since incorporated things like buttermilk, kefir, whey, etc., because I always have those things on hand and like to use them up, and have had great success.
I only do 1 rising too, and it usually takes at least 6 hours. After I knead my bread, I shape it into a round loaf and put it in my medium cast iron skillet. Once it has risen fully, I slash the top and bake it at 325 for about an hour. I have tried setting a pan of water in the oven because it's supposed to improve the crust, and also throwing a cup of water into the oven to make steam when I put the bread in, but I didn't find it made much difference.
Oh, for bread that is like rocks, instead of throwing out, slice thin and toast for crackers. It is great with pate!
Anyways, I'm off to mix up my bread.