Moro, I chose La Brea Bakery) but started out nearly the same- with a bag of flour, a clean container, some cheesecloth and 500 g of black grapes.
Since the first day of the experiment, I've had a roving eye. I see starter recipes everywhere now and am making a list which I plan on writing about in this series. I will explore a recipe sent to me by a friend which is copied from Fergus Henderson, another from Seattle chef Leslie Mackie who owns and operates Macrina Bakery, another from Clothilde of the ubiquitous Chocolate and Zucchini blog...
The process was very straightforward, crushing grapes, adding flour and water, letting it sit for several days while it matured and then beginning a series of feedings over the course of 15 days. Once I started baking I found the starter to be very resilient and alive, and began making gorgeous loaves of bread! The only drawback is the amount of flour sent down the drain in the process of keeping the starter alive and the reviving it back from sleep. To get to that first batch of bread I used up 20 pounds of flour. At the start of every day, around 2 cups of starter were retained while nearly 2 quarts were poured off. As a sentimental former pet owner, I became very attached to my yeasty friends, but unless I open a small bakery in my home and buy a couple of full sized fridges, this process will always require a fair amount of waste. So onwards and forwards to other recipes that require a bit less waste. To be continued.
Oh! And if you're in the London area, ping me and I will shoot some starter your way.