2.23.2009

Tack it on

I can't stay long today. There are too many post-its cluttering my to-do list, too many phone calls to make, and not nearly, nearly enough hours in the day. But before I go deal with all that, I have a task to add to your to-do list for the week.

Try your hand at a sourdough starter.


I know I implored you before, a few weeks ago, when I made my first loaf of sourdough bread. But it doesn't take much, and once you get going — oh! — the bread. We've gotten into a routine around here. One day you feed the starter to build it up, the next day you mix all but a bit of the wet starter with flour to make a firm starter. (You have to save some, so that you'll be able to bake with it again.)

After that's sat overnight, you mix it up with more flour, water, sugar, and a bit of salt, and knead it, and you have bread dough. It takes forever to rise—all, all day at least—and then you punch it down and let it rise again overnight. Then, finally, it's ready to bake, and while it's in the oven, you start the whole process over again.

That way, when you devour the first loaf, you have a new one in hand.

The whole process sounds a whole lot more laborious than it is, because all of these are little baby steps, sort of like emptying the dishwasher or making your bed. Once you have them down pat, they're really no big deal. Plus, unlike yeast bread, you don't have to sit around watching the dough rise. It takes its time, while you're out for the day at work, so you don't have to stay home all day simply to make a loaf of bread. It makes much more sense, if you ask me.


If I've convinced you to tack it on to your list, check out the hilarious chapter on making a starter in this book or read up here or check out the video here—everyone has a little something different to say. Good luck—and please, please keep me posted on what you discover along the way.

2 comments :

Antonio said...

I hope that the mass in the bucket isn't your starter. If it is, it looks really dry

Elspeth said...

Hi Antonio,

That is my starter, but it's my starter mid-feed with new flour on top that hasn't been mixed in yet. So far, so good!

All the best,
Elspeth

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