Periodically, my husband decides to clean out the refrigerator when I am safely out of town. Last March, he decided that the sourdough starter (I had tended and baked with for almost 10 years) was an unknown, probably unsafe, science experiment. In short, he threw it away.
Since I bake very little during the spring and summer, I waited to start over. I thought about ordering more starter from King Arthur Flour and even put it into a shopping cart last week. Yesterday, I decided to try culturing my own from scratch. About an hour after I fed the sponge this morning, I was greeted by bubbles! An hour after that, the mixture of about 1 cup rye flour and 3/4 cup warm water had expanded to almost fill a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup.
It looks like I colonized my very sterile kitchen with the crazy yeast that ate eastern Massachusetts (or at least every refrigerator I shared started with) when we moved in almost 5 years ago. I remember how awful the first couple batches of bread I baked after we moved were because the house was new and sterile.
If I tend this experiment carefully for the next few days, I will bake my first batch of bread with the new starter this weekend. I can't wait.