As a beginner baker I'll tell you: because I'm too chicken to go all the way! So I use a little store bought yeast. That cuts the amount of rise time by a few hours and guarantees (well, almost) that my bread will be ok.
I started baking about 3 months ago. When I googled "homemade bread" a picture of this Instructable showed up:
I was hooked! on breadmaking and this web site.
Begin with this Instructable on how to make a sourdough starter. Do this a week before you want to eat your bread:
It takes at least that long to grow a good crop of sourdough. I named mine Baby Sour, nickname The beast.
Once you have you culture growing happily, it is time to play with it. Set aside some time to make this. All of that bread goodness takes a while to grow. I started these loaves at 1pm. They were ready to bake by 8pm.
Ingredients for 2 loaves:
-6 cups of bread flour. Yes there is a difference between all purpose and bread flour.
-2 Tablespoons of sugar. The beast loves sugar!
-2 teaspoons of salt.
-1.5 cups of milk, room temp. The beast does not like cold things.
-2 Tablespoons of butter, room temp
-2 eggs, room temp
-1 teaspoon of dry active, store bought yeast. This is the almost part. Since I'm using dry yeast, this bread is not a "real" sourdough in my eyes.