Over a year ago, I was determined to switch our breads to natural, sourdough.
I started by making a sourdough starter out of rye flour and spring water (From what I have read, rye flour "catches" the most wild yeasts.) I followed the basic recipe that many resources said to follow *1 cup flour, 1 cup water and continue feeding that same amount once a day for a week. At that point, if you have a bubbly, active starter you're ready to make bread! (You do need to dump half of the starter at each feeding though, or you will have a lake of sourdough starter! lol.)
When I injured my back, my husband and daughter took over the kitchen work and most of my ferments, and cultures died a sad and tragic death. My sourdough starter was no exception :P I was talking with my husband about the need to "re-start" my starter...and the truth came out. He never really liked the sourdough bread! *Gasp* After I got over the initial shock, I started asking him what he didn't like about the sourdough and the basic answer was that it was just too sour.
I have spent several hours researching sourdough on the web. I believe my biggest problem was that I didn't feed my starter enough, or as often as it had needed. I also left it in the fridge too long without the proper feedings :( (I was a bad sourdough Mama :P )
The other request my husband had made was to try a white sourdough bread.
So having said all of that, I have started 4 different sourdough starters. I started all of these in wide-mouth, quart jars so I'd be able so see through them to see the action, and the sourdough would have plenty of room to expand (you have to keep in mind that once the sourdough get's more umph, it can double and even triple in size between feedings.)
1) Started with a dehydrated "San Fransisco" starter that I had purchased quite a while ago on e-bay. I started this with the powdered started, and 1/4 cup water, and 3/8 cup unbleached white flour.
2) Started with 1/4 cup water and 3/8 cup unbleached white flour.
3) Started with 1/4 cup water and 3/8 cup hard white wheat flour.
4) Started with 1/4 cup water and 3/8 cup fresh milled rye flour.
I'm going to keep caring for all of all of these and try baking with each to see which we like best. They will be fed 2x's a day and I will either use or compost 1/2 at each feeding. I'm also not going to store my starter in the fridge. If I keep it on the counter, I can really keep an eye on it and see how each are doing.
I'm also going to be playing with the "no-knead" artisan breads, both with commercial yeast and with sourdough.
Another exciting addition to our diet has been sprouts. We are incredibly blessed to be able to get them from a local business owned by some good friends from our church. I'm also hoping to get some more kefir and kombucha going here soon..it's getting too expensive buying them at the store! lol. I've really enjoyed having a "living" kitchen and am looking forward to having one again.