|Courtesy of King Arthur Flour|
unlike regular bread, sourdough bread is made from a starter, and has no yeast. No yeast? Well, you ask, how does it rise? The starter is a mass of fermented water and flour. The recipe Jessica provided consisted of flour and water left to ferment in a covered container for several days. Periodically, you feed the starter with more flour and water.
All starter well in the beginning, I could see it starting to bubble away on the counter, and I dutifully fed it each day. However, by day 4, it had stopped bubbling, and a layer of greyish liquid had formed on top. Not sure what to do, I proceeded with the recipe, hoping it would still do something. After the final feeding/refreshing, I was ready to bake. It looked like the thing that ate Manhattan, and stank to high heaven! But, reading other DBers' posting who said that it would be an extremely wet and loose dough, I kept going. I don't have any pictures of the blob because it would have dripped off the counter onto the flour if I'd tried to take pictures.
I waited for it to proof and rise. And waited...and waited... and waited. Nothing. I hoped it would have some oven spring. Nope. My final project was flat, dense, greyish in color, and not at all edible.