Sourdough 101

As a food lover and fermentation fan girl, I have tried my hand at lots of different funky experiments from nukazuke to mango chutney- all with varying outcomes, both good and not so good. Sourdough, however, was one that somehow seemed too involved or inaccessible and got set aside as my business started to grow.
When my dear friend, and publisher of the wonderful Roost Books, Sara Bercholz gave me a sourdough starter for my birthday, I took it as a sign that the time had come to try my hand at baking this mythical bread. I used a simple recipe from this gorgeous book, as well as some tips from Tartine Bread , as they have been bread heroes of mine since I lived in California years ago.
It turned out that the recipes can be quite simple and that the process simply requires patience (character reveal.) First feeding the starter, then making the leaven and giving it time to get nice and lively and then giving the dough plenty of room at every step to fully rest and rise. It takes days, but the result is so astonishingly satisfying that now I am totally hooked. My family gobbles up the loaves, the whole house smells of that heavenly mix of flour, water, warmth and a little magic.
While I  am starting to look at the more complex recipes and experimenting with different heirloom flours, I am mostly just happy to have begun down this ancient pleasure avenue of baking good bread and feeding it to the ones I love. I encourage anyone who has the hankering to try- it’s like having a new pet:)

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