I noticed that my sourdough wasn't bubbling as much as usual when I went to make my sourdough rye for Purple Porch last week. I went ahead with the process and ended up with five pounds of soggy wet rye flour that wasn't going anywhere!
I spread it out on a jelly roll pan and baked it for the chickens and dogs, then started the long task of making more. I finely ground more organic rye berries and mixed a cup of the flour with a cup of water. (If you are going to try this, don't use city water, as it has some stuff in it that will prevent the sourdough from forming.)
I beat it for a minute or two, then threw in six big, fat organic grapes, unwashed. I wanted that bloom on the skin of the grape - that's yeast! I covered the bowl with cheesecloth so that any yeast floating around in the kitchen would make it into the dough, but the bugs wouldn't.
Last time I made sourdough, which was three or four years ago, it failed on the first try, then took nearly a week to get going. This was bubbling within three days. I fished out the grapes and then added a couple of tablespoons of rye flour each day for three days, beating it well after each addition.
This morning, I used all but enough for another starter to make rye bread. It looks beautiful!! I wonder if the old sourdough was wearing out and I just didn't realize it. I won't know until the bread is baked tomorrow if it is as good as the old batch was. Sure hope so!!