Just after Hurricane Katrina, I attempted to cultivate a wild-yeast sourdough starter. Despite care and feeding, the flour and water mixture turned into an evil brew of multi-colored, scary fungus….so I threw it out and tried again. Same results; I chalked the failures up to being downwind from NOLA when mold & other microorganisms were at epic levels.
Now I’m trying again, using a slightly different method. I stirred together 1/3 cup of water and six tablespoons of flour in a clean glass mason jar and covered it loosely with plastic wrap. After 8 hours, I stirred the mixture for 30 seconds and repeated the stirring after another 8 hours. In the next 24 hour period, I’ll feed it a little fresh flour & water, and stir a few more times.
After roughly 10 days of care and feeding, I should have a wild yeast culture strong enough to raise a loaf of bread (or lots of evil-smelling, black-green-and-red scary mold, but I’m trying to think positively here). My goal is a stable, liquid levain starter, perfect for making french style sourdough; it’s not too sour, pleasantly tangy, and extends the shelf life of lean breads.