There's yet another new Clausen in Sourdoughtown (which is the region on top of our fridge where I keep the starter jar that I've just named Sourdoughtown). I killed the second one just a few days ago.
In talking with the Homegrown Revolution folk who had inspired my forays into sourdough cultivation, I discovered that it had been folly to try to create a whole wheat starter from scratch using whole wheat flour and that's what the problem had been each time (probably). Turns out you have to start with white flour, and then once it's strong enough, say in a couple of weeks, you just start feeding it whole wheat instead of white. Eventually, the white flour part of the starter all but disappears and then you've got your whole wheat starter. Conversion complete. Sweet!
So to speed up my process, the HGR homies provided me with a cup of their very own hearty white flour starter and I'm off and running. I even decided to splurge on a banneton/brotform/proofing basket from Breadtopia, which is a pretty cool site set up by this dude and his wife, who are really into bread and own a bread-making supply store. Check out the how-to videos on all kinds of bread-making techniques and recipes, including the "no-knead" recipes. I'm definitely going to try some of them once I'm in the swing of things.
That is, as long as I can keep this new Clausen among the living. Millions of little yeasty beasties in a mason jar just furrowed their brows, looked at each other and then crossed their fingers and bit their lips in hope. I'll try not to let them down.
Side Note: Thunderous thanks goes to the above-mentioned HGR coolkids not only for sharing their starter with me, but for linking to me in their post yesterday. That was cool.