Sourdough starter, anyone?


A reader writes:

Say, I'm wanting to purchase a live (not dried) sourdough starter (for bread making) and I'd love to find something local... trouble is, I can't think of where to buy one. Do you have any ideas? I know of a few places online that will ship a live culture overnight, but it's hard to know just how good it will be. There's got to be someone locally or even regionally that carries these... or maybe even a person I could buy some of theirs... ideas?

Great question, and, off the top of my head, I don't have a great answer. I've made my own sourdough starter once or twice in the past, but it takes awhile to get it going (feeding it, forgetting to feed it, having it start to ooze out of the container in the back of the fridge, etc.) and I never thought the results were particularly fantastic. These days, if I'm making bread, I usually like to use a quick overnight "sponge" starter, vs. a full-on sourdough starter.

The easiest way to get a good sourdough starter is to find someone who already has one and is willing to share. I might ask friends...or email Strib reporter/baker extraordinaire Kim Ode and see if she'd share?...or contact one of the local bakeries and see if the'd sell theirs (does St. Agnes still make that triple-sourdough "nasty bread")? Anyone else have ideas?