I'm very happy about this experiment!

I've been wanting to make my own sourdough starter fro quite some time now but I never had the nerve to go through with it.

Thanks to Jessica from My Recipe Projet I've dived off the deep end into sourdough world.

Let's see if I can get anybody else to join the club?

So first of all let be say that this may be long but it's not hard.

Basically all you have to do is mix water and flour and let magic do the rest.

I was very pleased to see that even if it's very cold in our house I still got my starter started!!!


These are the instructions I recieved:

"French Country Bread
Servings: 1 large loaf plus extra wheat starter for further baking

- Day 1:
4 1/2 tablespoons (40 g) stoneground breadmaking whole-wheat or graham flour
3 tablespoons (45 ml) water
Total scant ½ cup (85 g)
1. In a Tupperware or plastic container, mix the flour and water into a paste.
2. Set the lid on top gently, cover with a plastic bag, to prevent messes in case it grows more than expected!
3. Set somewhere warm (around 86 F if possible). I sometimes put mine on a windowsill near a radiator, but even if it’s not that warm,
 you’ll still get a starter going – it might just take longer.

- Day 2:
4 1/2 tablespoons (40 g) stoneground breadmaking whole-wheat or graham flour
3 tablespoons (45 ml) water
scant 1/2 cup (85 g) starter from Day 1
Total scant cup (170 g)
1. Stir the flour and water into the mixture from Day 1, cover, and return to its warm place.
- Day 3:
4 1/2 tablespoons (40 g) stoneground breadmaking whole-wheat or graham flour
4 teaspoons (60 ml) water
scant 1 cup (170 g) starter from Day 2
Total 1⅓ cup (230 g)
1. Stir the flour and water into the mixture from Day 2, cover, and return to its warm place.

- Day 4:
3/4 cup plus 1½ tablespoons (120 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup less 4 teaspoons (100 ml) water
1⅓ cup (230 g) starter from Day 3
Total scant 2⅔ cup (440 g)
1. Stir the flour and water into the mixture from Day 3, cover, and return to its warm place. At this point it should be bubbling and 
smell yeasty. If not, repeat this process for a further day or so until it is!

Stage 1: Refreshing the leaven
1 cup less 1 tablespoon (160 g) wheat Leaven Starter
6 tablespoons less 1 teaspoon (50 g) stoneground bread making whole-wheat or graham flour
1 cup plus 2 teaspoons (150 g) unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
Production Leaven Total 2¾ cups plus 4 teaspoons (480 g)
1. Mix everything into a sloppy dough. It may be fairly stiff at this stage. Cover and set aside for 4 hours, until bubbling and 
expanded slightly.

Stage 2: Making the final dough
3/4 cup less 1 teaspoon (100 g) stoneground breadmaking whole-wheat or graham flour, plus more for dusting
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (300g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons (7 g) sea salt or ⅔ teaspoon (3 g) table salt
1 ¼ cups (300 ml) water
1 ¾ cups (300 g) production leaven – this should leave some (1 cup) for your next loaf.
Total 6 cups less 2 tablespoons (1007 g)

1. Mix the dough with all the ingredients except the production leaven. It will be a soft dough.
2. Knead on an UNFLOURED surface for about 8-10 minutes, getting the tips of your fingers wet if you need to. You can use dough 
scrapers to stretch and fold the dough at this stage, or air
knead if you prefer. Basically, you want to stretch the dough and fold it over itself repeatedly until you have a smoother, more elastic 
See my demonstration here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqS3raEGdwk
3. Smooth your dough into a circle, then scoop your production leaven into the centre. You want to fold the edges of the dough up 
to incorporate the leaven, but this might be a messy process. Knead for a couple minutes until the leaven is fully incorporated in 
the dough. See my demonstration here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPO97R4iO4U
4. Spread some water on a clean bit of your work surface and lay the dough on top. Cover with an upturned bowl, lining the rim 
of the bowl with a bit of water. Leave for an hour, so that the gluten can develop and the yeasts can begin to aerate the dough.
5. Once your dough has rested, you can begin to stretch and fold it. Using wet hands and a dough scraper, stretch the dough away 
from you as far as you can without breaking it and fold it back in on itself. Repeat this in each direction, to the right, towards you, 
and to the left. This will help create a more ‘vertical’ dough, ready for proofing. See my demonstration here: 
6. Heavily flour a banneton/proofing basket with whole wheat flour and rest your dough, seam side up, in the basket. 
Put the basket in a large plastic bag, inflate it, and seal it. Set aside somewhere warm for 3-5 hours, or until it has expanded a 
fair bit. It is ready to bake when the dough responds to a gently poke by slowly pressing back to shape.
7. Preheat the oven to hot 425°F/220°C/gas mark 7. Line a baking sheet with parchment, then carefully invert the dough onto 
the sheet. I like to put the baking sheet on top of the basket, then gently flip it over so as to disturb the dough as little as possible. 
Make 2-3 cuts on top of the loaf and bake for 40-50 minutes, reducing the temperature to moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6 
after 10 minutes.
8. Cool on a cooling rack."
I must admit I found these instructing more then intimidating, all those numbers and mesurments! 
I like to improvize when I'm cooking but this method didn't leave any room for that.
I grudgingly followed the instructions...well almost.
I didn't read properly and used whole wheat flour again on the 4th day instead of all-purpose
Things kind of went sour when it was time to refreashen the leaven before making the final dough.
My refreshed dough did not bubble and definetly did not expand: flat thick mass for two days
I was very disapointed so I made crumpets with the extra leaven... 
Since they were delicious (Thank you Artifax) I decided not to give up and took my "refreashed" starter on vacation with me.
From then on I did things my way... no mesuring!!! 
I fed my starter back to life, a little bit of water and a little bit more of flour.
It worked!!! Soon "Survivor" was bubbling nicely again and stinking up the shelve I had stored him on.
When I was sure he was very much alive againI started following the instructions again...well almost. ; )
I refreashed Survivor... 
This was scary but after 20 odd hours I noted some bubbles through the transparent 
bowl I had put him in and the surface was slightly cracked which I decided to interpertate as "expanded slightly".
Since everybody was saying how gooey this dough was I made the choice of working it in a big bowl with a spoon 
instead of on the counter with my hands. Considering how liquid this was I think I made a smart choice. 
As I was working the dough by spoon instead of by hand I did" knead it for a little bit longer around 15min...
After that I covered the bowl with some plastic wrap and let the dough rest for about an hour. 
When I uncovered it, it's texture was smother but still very liquid:
But I was ready to give it a go. So I dumped it on to a very floured surface and stared working it with my dough scraper.
I did add a bit of flour from time to time but it wasn't as bad as i expected.
Then I transfered the dough to my bran-new-homemade-banneton ( basket with a tea-towel stuffed in it...)
Then I watched nothing happen for quite some time...
The next day, after tring to store the dough in several different "warm" places, covering it, talking to it, 
comming back from vacation with it, sticking it in a warm oven... decided I had done what I could and it was time to bake!
I fliped it over into a greased pan, slashed the top twice and stuck it into a preheated oven.
I'm pleased to say that Survivor's first loaf turned out pretty nicely all things considered!
It expanded just a little bit more in the oven, to make a actually pretty good looking "boule"!
The tea towel left it's imprint on the crust which I found interesting...(ideas for the future)
The crust was nice and crusty!
The sourdough taste was very pronounced.
 The only off point is that it was not quite as airy as I would have liked it. The bubbles were numerous but small.
Also this loaf might of needed a little but more time in the oven because it was a bit gummy...
To showcase this baby I made an attempt at Welsh Rarebit (yum):
Boy, do I like being part of the Daring Bakers!!!