Two weeks ago I began my first at-home sourdough starter... using freshly ground rye flour (from rye berries ground in my small coffee bean mill) and filtered water. I put both in a mason jar, following Sue Gregg's recipe. I also referred to Sally Fallon's recipe in Nourishing Traditions. Both are similar. I let my starter ferment in a mason jar on the counter (feeding it daily as instructed) for 9 days. In total, it was a 10 day process. When done, I covered it tightly in a glass container and put it in the fridge.
I pulled my sourdough starter out last weekend to use in my first from-scratch batch of sourdough bread. As instructed, I took it from the fridge 12 hours before use. I then put one cup of starter in a glass bowl, added the called-for amount of flour (spelt in this case) and covered it for with a warm damp towel for 12 hours.
The next morning, i added all other ingredients. I used sprouted spelt flour for the additional called-for flour in the recipe.
It took a long time to rise because I did not use any yeast. Nothing to make it rise but the natural wild yeast starter itself.
After letting it rise a couple of times (it only rose about 1/4 of its mass instead of double)--and the second rise I did in the oven at 170 degrees to help it along a little--I divided the dough into two loaves, let them rise in the oven on low, and then baked them.
The bread turned out absolutely scrumptious. However, the next time I make sourdough bread, I won't divide the dough into two loaves so that I will end up with one regular-sized loaf. When not using traditional yeast, the dough just doesn't rise that much, so my loaves turned out rather small. They are wonderful dipped in soup, though, or with butter on them.
I've never liked sourdough bread. But the only kind I had ever tried was store-bought and probably not made from a starter. This homemade version of sourdough bread is wonderful and moist.