As an experienced, non-professional baker of conventional yeast bread, I'd been mystified by sourdough and the whole rustic bread thing. All my attempts turned out like sandwich bread with CRUST. Ed Wood's first couple of chapters set me straight: it's the lactobacilli (slow multipliers) that create the flavor, and the yeast (fast multipliers) that give it loft. And they both require feeding: just think of your starter as a hungry amorphous pet hanging out in the fridge, and you're on the right track. An article in Cooks Illustrated supplied the other key variable: moisture content (the wetter the dough, the more open the texture). Armed with theory, I ordered a couple of starters from Dr. Moore's web site and, following the instructions in World Sourdoughs, stirred and incubated for a couple of days, then followed the books' most basic recipe, and Whammo! Great sourdough bread! I'm sold. I'm empowered. Cool. Caveat: the previous review is right too, the book assumes you already know a lot about how bread works. For instance, the proportions in some of the recipes are a little suspect to my eye (for instance, how can you keep adding 'another cup of flour' and 'another cup of water' to a 1 quart jar, day after day, and not end up with basically an ocean of starter!? Beginners should begin elsewhere, then come to Dr. Moore for their graduate Sourdough training.