Tonight I started my very own sourdough starter, shown above, held by my wonderful (but shy) assistant. This starter is based on the recipe at Mike Avery's amazingly informative Sourdough Home website. I used 3/8 cup Hodgson Mill rye flour, along with 1/4 cup pineapple juice bought at the local market. According to both Sourdough Home and noted bread author Peter Reinhart, pineapple juice inhibits the growth of leuconostoc, a bacteria that will act (falsely) like yeast during the starter's early stages. Supposedly leuconostoc problems occur more with wheat-based starters, but to be safe, I chose to use pineapple juice anyway.
I hope that the starter matures and becomes useful during the time between classes ending and finals beginning. Serious sourdough will be made, as gifts for teachers and snacks for the ride from Gambier to DC.