I found a recipe online that seemed easy and straightforward. And I have plenty of time (being unemployed at the moment) so I started on the bread. Here's my process:
This is the "sponge" portion. You take the starter, add flour and warm water and let that get foamy and yeasty smelling. This took around 6 hours before I added the sugar, salt butter and flour.
The good thing about this recipe is that after I created the sponge, I still have starter left over to create the next loaf. What a wonderful thing that it just perpetuates itself and I can have loaf after loaf.
This is what it looked like after I added the flour, sugar, salt, butter and water. Then I kneaded it for a bit and left it to rise and do its thing.
Doing its thing on top of the toaster oven. I didn't want to put it in the oven like was suggested because I was afraid I would forget and kill all the bacteria.
I didn't take a photo of it after the rise and then the first pounding. I also forget to put it on the baking pan and let it do the 2nd rise. But this is what it looked like before I baked it.
So here it is after 50 minutes in the oven. (The recipe said it was to bake in 30-45) It started to turn brown but not what I would call a golden brown by any means. I am pretty sure that it is because I didn't let it rise on the sheet and so it was a bit dense.
I let it cool for about an hour, which is as long as I could handle the suspense (and the smell!) Here it is in all its glory.
I will so bake this again and have the starter already working. It definitely took me 24 hours but so worth it. For the cost of flour, I will indefinitely have fresh, homemade sourdough. Nich is in heaven also and is already talking about the add-ins and wonderfulness to make it even better. Like garlic and rosemary, OMG!
Thanks Dawn for getting me started and thank you John for holding my hand during the process. Here's to homemade bread!