After too damn many failed wild-yeast sourdough starters, I officially gave up and ordered Lalvain pain de campagne dried sourdough starter from King Arthur. Just 1/8 tsp of the dried starter mixed wtih flour and water makes a sponge in 12 to 24 hours, and the sponge keeps, refrigerated, for up to 7 days.
I tried the recipe provided by King Arthur along with the starter, as well as a similar recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Bread Bible. Beranbaum’s recipe resulted in a slightly tastier loaf–probably because I added a little rye flour to the sponge. Both renditions featured thick brownish red crust, a crumb full of holes, and excellent mild sourdough flavor. I can’t wait to try this with white whole wheat flour!