There is sourdough, and there is Peter Reinhart's formulas for sourdough. I have made sourdough breads for over 30 years. I have used those silly "tourist" packages one gets from Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. I have grown the starter using organic champagne grapes and organic flour from the specialty natural foods store - and never with great results. Sometimes, they were bricks; sometimes they were gummy and raw; and sometimes they were just flat and lifeless. Not so with Peter's formulas.
Starting with the basic sourdough formula here, I chose to bake these into baguettes for my birthday party dinner, which was my 60th birthday - the theme of which was 60 and Fabulous! and the bread was lived up to that theme. I still like the French baguettes slightly better, but this formula was a darned close second. Great flavor; great texture. I will make these again - definitely.
From my 60th - and Fabulous! birthday party. Used for dipping into the sauce part of Dorothy's meatballs and sauce.
The Firm Starter
Kneaded and Ready to Rise
I finally had someone there to take a picture of the famed "windowpane." It was fun to get to that point.