My sourdough starters are almost ready! Well, the one with added yeast probably is ready, but I want to make sure, so I think I will wait until tomorrow to begin cooking with it. And my "wild" yeast starter is coming along, too! This is very exciting because many of these fail to "catch" any of the yeast in the air. I figured that setting it near my sure-fire starter (with added yeast) would ensure success and I do believe it has. I am continuing to research and read about sourdough starters and, not surprisingly, they can be made with all sorts of different ingredients all of which give a unique taste.The recipe for the reliable starter I made is from Barbara O'Neal's book:
2 C potato water (water in which potatoes have been boiled until soft) lukewarm
1/2 C rye flour
1/2 C whole-wheat flour
1 C unbleached white flour
2 tsp dry yeast
Mix water, flours and yeast until smooth. Cover loosely with cheesecloth and let stand in a warm, draft-free spot, stirring every 24 hours, until bubbly and agreeably sour, usually 4-10 days. Taste every day to know how it is progressing. When it is ready, store loosely covered in the fridge, refreshing it once a week by throwing away (or using) half of the starter and adding 1 C water and 1 C white flour.
The other, more traditional starter is the easy (and yet hard) one: 1 C flour + 1 C water. This one takes much longer to get going but if it does, it should be worth the effort. Here is what both of them look like right now: