in my sourdough era

in my sourdough era

I missed the great sourdough craze of 2020 when we were all at home, slowly going crazy in lockdown. I painted through my anxiety instead.

For whatever reason, lately it has taken hold of me and I can understand what all the fuss is about. It's one of those things that seems kind of overrated unless you're involved, but when you're in it you find it endlessly fascinating.

what's so great about sourdough anyway?

Because the sourdough starter leavens the bread instead of commercial yeast, it's easier to digest and better for your gut. Also, there's that unmistakable flavour. 

But is it really THAT much better than regular bread? Honestly, they're both delicious and satisfying. For me, I think it's actually the process that makes sourdough worth the extra steps. It feels a bit magical to watch the starter rise after you feed it, and continually tweak your process in pursuit of perfecting the art.

I nearly typed "sourdough is a lifestyle" before I realized how ridiculous that is (even though at this point that's pretty much where I'm at in terms of my commitment).

is it a ton of work?

Yes and no. The way I've been baking my loaves, it ends up being a 3-day process. However, most of the time is passive (waiting, resting, rising, fermenting) so the active parts are pretty short. It's mostly about the timing and planning ahead.

There's also tons of same-day recipes out there so you can pull off a magnificent sourdough masterpiece in a single day. There are so many things to make with the discard, you could bake every day from the discard alone.

do you get tired of bread?

Some people keep their starter on the counter, which means you need to feed and discard every. single. day. For me, that's not going to happen. I don't have the time, nor do I need that many baked goods in my life.

Instead, I've developed a schedule where I pull out my starter on Fridays and "wake it up" for the weekend. That usually ends up meaning sourdough pizza Friday, a yummy discard baked good Saturday, focaccia Sunday and a proper loaf on Monday. I find that by Monday's dinner, I'm well satisfied of bread and ready for something else. We have everything else but wheat until the end of the week when it's time to wake up the starter for the weekend.

Soon I will post a full schedule of the timing for all of this. I feel like I'm still refining it.

the magic in the making

Overall, it's very yummy. Yes - it has digestive benefits. But there is still more to the allure than can be explained by these facts alone.

For me, the last few years one of my goals has been to spend more time doing this with my hands and less time scrolling. It's an easy trap many of us fall into when we want to relax.

It wasn't part of the plan but since I started this journey I can see big improvements in this goal. Once you're invested, you HAVE to do certain things at certain times or else it was all for nothing. In the meantime, the cake stand on my counter (which used to be for decor) now always has something in it for snacking and there's always something homemade on hand.

My butter expenses are through the roof but that's a price I'm willing to pay.

If you're curious, dive in. Your worst case scenario is you don't like it. In your best case scenario you're enjoying lemon poppyseed muffins or fresh pretzel buns in the same amount of time you could have been mindlessly scrolling TikTok. I would call that a big win!

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