A little more than two months ago, I purchased my starter from King Arthur Flour... and it has been going strong ever since. I like knowing exactly what goes into our bread from start to finish, and I enjoy the process. It makes me feel a little more akin to women from not that long ago that had to bake out of necessity and not just desire.
My regime goes like this:
Remove starter from fridge and stir. Remove 1 cup to a medium bowl for crackers. Add a half cup lukewarm water to the original starter and one cup of unbleached flour. Stir and let sit on the counter over night. To the 1 cup of starter set aside stir in 1/4 cup melted butter and 1 cup whole wheat flour - knead to form a stiff dough, cover with plastic and let sit out on the counter over night or at least 7 hours.
Follow steps in recipe for Rustic Sourdough to add ingredients to a large bowl for bread.
I usually add 2 cups wheat and 2 cups unbleached flour.
Then I kneed in the fifth cup of flour.
Kneed until it forms a nice stretchy - not sticky - ball of dough.
I used to worry about over-kneeding, but I figure I am not good enough at it to actually have that problem.
Put dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise - about 90 minutes.
While that rises, I heat up my oven and follow this recipe for sourdough crackers from Kitchen Stewardship. First rolling out half the cracker dough (I freeze the other half for another day).
I oil and season the dough, then slice with my pizza cutter and bake.
You have not had a cracker until you have had a homemade sourdough cracker....
After a while, the bread dough is ready. Look how much it has risen!
I divide it into one loaf and usually 6 - 8 rolls. This is the perfect amount of bread for us each week. These need to rise one more hour.
After rising, I slick a little water on their tops, and carefully slash them. The first time I did this, they all deflated!
After baking about 25 - 30 minutes, we have delicious bread ready for the week... and because of our yummy crackers, we are not tempted to eat it all right away!
If you have ever considered baking your own bread, I highly recommend sourdough. It is healthy, delicious, versatile, and easily learned.