A few months ago I got the idea to try out making a sourdough starter. My fiance loves sourdough and, being a bread baker, I thought it should be easy and fun to make my own. I was wrong. My starter blew up and smelled awful. It made a huge mess and I know that every bread book I have read and every person I've talked to says that sourdough is tough and if your starter doesn't work, you should just keep trying. Unfortunately, when an attempt fails to the extent this one did, I feel disinclined to try again. Luckily, I have a friend who makes fantastic sourdough. While I was visiting in Oregon recently, my friend Nat showed me how he makes sourdough, and it is good. He suggested I use a technique to start my sourdough I had never heard of. Instead of using water in the starter, you use pineapple juice and it adjusts the pH to the ideal conditions for wild yeast. I did some internet research and found a recipe I liked. I used rye flour to begin with in the starter, and changed over to white flour after about a week. I've been baking sourdough for several weeks now and every loaf is better than the last.
So my advice to you is if there is something you've been wishing you could do, try again, you just might end up with a delicious success.