I’m not displeased with my first attempt at sourdough bread. It was a bit of a pain, though. I aspire to have great patience with making complicated foods, and perky, excited blog posts, accompanied by richly-textured, drool-inducing photos, about the results. But often, once I get into a process that takes a long time, I just get cranky.
Well, King Arthur Flour had a good basic recipe/procedure for making a starter that worked for me. I basically started on a whim, and honestly had no idea it would take so long: a week of twice daily “feedings” of flour & water. Midway through the week, I read somewhere that creating a sourdough starter can feel like adopting a new pet. YES.
But, I associate sourdough with this short, golden season in my early 20’s that somehow landed both my brother and me home at my mother’s, each unmarried and transitioning. We couldn’t know it at the time, but it would be the last extended time the three of us would spend together before Mom’s chronic condition emerged and the whole family trajectory shifted. It was a precious time, and I think of it often.
The two of us spent our few extra dollars at the local Natural Food and Garden Store, one of my favorite businesses anywhere. I made giant batches of granola to give away as Christmas gifts, and my brother went crazy with variations on sourdough baking. We had a lot of time on our hands and it was winter in central PA: the perfect conditions for sourdough.
This week, I felt a race-against-time quality. There is winter down here, but it’s so short, and honestly, although it’s usually snowing in Philly at this time of year, spring has already reached the south shore. There’s not much time to recreate an entire season full of Yankee indoor pleasures like baking, sitting by the fire and savoring a steaming mug of tea. So, why was it taking so long to make the starter? For the dough to rise? Really, a 450 degree oven?
But the bread turned out okay. Though there was room for improvement, it was edible and even good enough to give one loaf away. My starter is tucked into a glass jar in the fridge. We’ll just see if this sourdough becomes my new way of life.