Well my starter is 1 yr old now (8th Sept "Fritz" was born) and I so love making sourdough bread! I can honestly say I haven't bought a loaf of bread since before Sept 2008! My first few (well, perhaps a lot more than a few) loaves were complete rubbish, and would have made better walls than food, but eat them I did.
I had never made bread before I started making sourdough, and now I can't imagine not making it! After having lived in Germany for a few years I really missed tucking into a nice Bauernbrot, semmel, Schwarz brot, Vollkorn, Sonnenblumenbrot, Kummellaib, und so weiter! So I decided to try making my own natursauerteig (sourdough). And thanks to all you good folk that contribute to sourdough.com I now have a couple of cracker starters quietly biding their time in my fridge.
I did have a couple of close calls, well actually my first attempt at starting a starter turned orange and smelt BAD. But the 2nd one worked a treat. More than once I have forgotten to save some before making the dough. The first time I was rescued by getting some of its "brother" that I had given to a friend, and then 2nd time I thought, well I'll just nab a bit of dough, pop that in the fridge and see if it still "starts" next time around. And sure enough it did just fine after a couple of feeds.
Being that I'm a microbiologist by trade, I couldn't help but take some of my starter to work to have a good look down the microscope at and grow it up on some agar to make sure it contained all the right things. Ok, so some people thought me slightly weird (wouldn't have been the first time!), but at least I knew exactly what I was eating and getting my hands stuck into!! Wish now I'd taken some photos down the microscope to share - maybe I still will.
All the recipes on this website, wildyeastblog.com, the fresh loaf, theinversecook, stirthepots, the bread making babes, all the forum comments, helpful hints, people's successes and failures, the photos, are so fantastic, its just like having help in the kitchen. I'm so in love with my new hobby that I have recently ordered my first 3 bread books - The Bread Makers Apprentice, The Art of Handmade Bread and Local Breads: Sourdough and Wholegrain recipes ..... Hopefully they will arrive soon as I can't wait to start looking through them.
So, thank you all very much for words of wisdom shared, inspiring photos, recipes and help given. Now that I can make a loaf I'm proud to share with my friends, I can start to pay it forward and help others; but if its still ok, I'm keen to glean as much experience from all you great people that I can.
THANKS HEAPS :o)