hey guys. i think that, unlike cooking (for the most part), true defanitions and understandings are hard to agree on with bread making. i talked with a bread chef today and we had a long tal kabout sour dough starters and pre ferments. he said that no one way of making a starter is the wrong way. he said that it boils down to what YOU want... how u want the sour dough starter to be. made since really. when i was at the hotel doing my externship, we had an artisan bread chef. he was a really cool guy. one day we sat down and he told me all about pre ferments and sour dough starts. it was my true interduction to them. i grasped them really well. i understood what happened in the sour dough while it sits and grows. he told me one thing i will never forget "you need not to listen to books about sour dough starters. they will just confuse you." it made since. it HAS confused me. so i trace those conversations that he and i had and i think that it is nesasary, in a bakers like, to take a stance and to commit on the way you would like to creat sour starters. thebighat said it best when he said that its really not HOW long you wait... its that you clearly understand what is going on in the container that holds your starter. kimmie said it best when she said you just have to go out and bake. unfortenatly, that is tough for me but what i realized today as i was sitting in class is that i can at least make a sour dough starter. at least it will be totally ready by the time i go home for christmas. he he he so, i thank you all for your advise. even though it confused me and left me pondering late at night (which was interesting) at times, i am truely gratefull that i have all you guys to help me. thank to all.