I hadn't planned on trying a sourdough starter yet, but I did manage to make one accidentally. It happened because of what I've been reading about the benefits of soaking whole grains (a couple of good articles on that here and here.) For yeast bread making, one thing I've been trying has been to mix whole wheat flour with water and some whey, and letting it sit overnight. The next morning I prepare my yeast along with the other ingredients, mix, knead, and bake away.
Well, one morning I couldn't get to it. In fact the whole thing sat overnight a second time and by the time I got to it the following morning, it had risen just as though it contained yeast! I was amazed and figured that I had accidentally made a sourdough starter.
I started feeding it, and it kept on growing. After about a week I decided to try to bake a loaf of bread. I couldn't find a recipe I liked, so I made one up.
It worked! Not perfectly, but my bread rose and was not only edible but tasty. After my failure years ago, it was exciting to have my first success.
I by no means feel that I've got a handle on this sourdough thing. This first loaf had a muffin-like consistency rather than like yeast bread. Still, it's a start, and I hope to improve my loaves with some experimentation. I've also been experimenting with sourdough pancakes and muffins. I've even added it to cake in place of buttermilk. What I need is a sourdough cookbook or at least to start collecting recipes. Yesterday Sharon sent me her recipe for Sourdough Applesauce Cake. I can't wait to try it! Bread of course, is my main concern. Hopefully in the near future I can show you some real successes!
Accidental Sourdough photos & text copyright January 2010