A whole lot of starter!
I am reading Nancy Silverton's Breads From The La Brea Bakery. I am very intrigued by using a natural starter as opposed to yeast, and really believe when she writes about the benefits to the flavor and texture of the bread, but I can't get past the sheer amount of material that gets used, and specially wasted.
After some quick spreadsheet calculation, it would take 25.12 Lbs. of flour to get the starter going, and after that, to keep the starter fed three times a day it will take 32.2 Lbs. of flour a week. Nevermind the cost, what bugs me the most is that so much is discarded. Unless I am making 12 loaves a day, so much starter goes in the trash (I can only give my friends so much).
Right now I am baking just a bout every weekend, starting with making a poolish on Friday night, etc...
Is there a way to make a lot less starter and still have it perform well? I get the feeling that Nancy's response would be no, it is the kind of thing you have to commit to. Maybe I should just stick with yeast?
My father keeps a starter that is a lot less work and he bakes every three days or so, but the results are less than spectacular (don't tell him that).
Anyway, any insight anybody might have would be appreciated.