Suse - what a great site!! There was SO much good information on that site. in fact, it even answered my original question about the yeast in the air. In case anyone was wondering this is what it said:
- Firstly, forget everything you ever heard about catching yeasts "from the air." Yes, there _are_ yeasts - and lactobacilli - in the air, but from a practical point of view it is important to note that there are far more of them already present in flour! In a cup of flour we're talking millions of them. So the good news is that you already have the yeasts and bacteria you need, right off the supermarket shelf, the bad news is that you also have mold spores and other bacteria which aren't so desirable. Fortunately, given the right conditions the yeasts and lactobacilli quickly dominate and the starter becomes too acidic for the other organisms to survive. The microorganisms are not destroyed (though they are probably diminished) by bleaching so can happily get a starter going from normal store flour. However, since they are more plentiful on the surface of the grain, a wholemeal flour is the easiest (quickest) to get going.
Thanks again - i had no idea there was this much information out there about sourdough.
~~Mama to DS1 6/05 and DS2 12/07~~