Characterized by a nice smooth, pancake-batter-like consistency, lots of bubbles in freshly proofed starter, froth on top of the starter, no hooch at the end of 12 hours of proofing, and rise times for bread recipes of 2 1/2 hours or less. Nothing further needs to be said. This starter is your long term successful starter and should be protected with your husband's/wife's life! It is now very abuse resistent and you can get away with, although it's not suggested, less accurate temperature control during proofing and for the water added to the starter, and less careful control of the actual proofing period. I believe that the only way to mess up a healthy starter is to heat it up to an excessive temperature (> 100 deg) for too long. Nearly anything else will be ok, and even if you seem to have killed it off somewhat, a single well-controlled proof should bring it back to life. You can get away with feeding it only once very 2 weeks or so too (but not suggested of course).