Well, yesterday's bread turned out really well. Still holding up well today. Beckey said "it's the best bread you've ever made." Her seal of approval means a lot to me, and is very motivating.
I stayed up til 3am last night reading about Lithuanian black rye bread, including about bakeries in the US that produce it and historical and technical recipe information. So I'm going to try it again, albeit with a slightly different tack. My grandma's bread recipe is decent now, I just want to improve it to get closer to what I remember, and I think I can.
The recipe in the Lithuanian Foods book I have uses an active yeast starter. I'm going to try to do the same with the sourdough starter I have now, but modified. I'm also going to try to use their recipe, at least in generalities (2kg of starter and 6kg of rye flour is simply too much for the kind of baking that I do! That's over 17.6 lbs of flour!); that said, it's interesting that they are using a 3:1 flour-to-starter recipe by weight, whereas my version of KAF sourdough is ~3:1.75 flour-to-starter by weight. And unlike my grandma's bread, the recipe that I have uses no scalded buttermilk.
Here's the beginning:
1/2 cup KAF starter
1 cup rye flour (Hodgson Mill)
1 cup water
Let ferment for 24 hours.
So I had some leftover starter, what to do? Starting one more project: Sourdough waffles! Should be ready to rock and roll tomorrow morning...mmm! This is also from the KAF baking book, we'll see how it turns out. We had some pretty good sourdough pancakes that John A. made up at June Lake, we'll see how these compare. Should be interesting; using regular milk instead of buttermilk called for in the recipe. Hope it's close enough!