I have got a sourdough sponge in my fridge that only gets used and fed 2-3 times a year, I have had the same batch in the same glass jar for well over 20 years now, I got a sample of the culture from my mother, she got it from her mother, and I think she got it from her mother before that! I have been told it originated in Palermo Sicily, but I doubt any of that original culture is viable yet.
I lost my sponge to improper storage many many years ago, and I was able to start a new batch by getting some starter from the batch my mother still has. it worked out nicely and I feel darn lucky she still had the stuff and it was usable.
I use it for my sourdough pancakes, and occasionally for breads on holidays where I have the time to play with a sourdough base. Now I wonder if it is workable for a decent pizza dough.
Doesn't the quality of sourdough all depend on the strains of wild yeast that are common in your immediate area?
I was under the impression that different regions of the world have wildly different wild yeast strains each with their own unique flavor notes, strengths, and weaknesses.
So if you brought a yeast culture from San Francisco with hopes to reproduce a San Francisco sourdough product, in less than a month that specific strain of yeast which is local to San Francisco would be taken over by what you have locally, and the flavor you expected to get a with a S-F sourdough would not be there anymore. that is what has me wondering about what I have, and if I am just lucky to have a decent yeast strain in this area.
I did do a little reading on the subject years ago, but in no way do I consider myself an expert on the topic. I just like the texture and flavor of what I am able to get from my culture which got handed down through a few generations.
If anyone wants a sample of what i have, I can send some out to you in dried form and let you rehydrate it to see what you get out of it.
Darn it, now I am thinking about making some pancakes with the stuff, I hope I still have some real syrup left from last year.