Monday, August 13, 2012

For the Love of Sourdough

I love me some sourdough bread. Really, I love basically any bread. Okay, yes, I just love food in general. But more specifically, I really love me some sourdough. We keep it in our fridge pretty much at all times. There is a local bakery that makes wonderful artisan breads and we generally get their bread because it's so good.

My Nana used to make bread every week for her church. It was soft, sweet, yummy loaf that all the new church visitors got to take home with them after Sunday church. My nana had a knack for bread making and baking in general. Apparently my great granddad was pretty famous for his sourdough bread as well. 

Thus far in my life I have pretty much sucked big time at making bread. A pumpkin loaf? Sure - but that doesn't count because it doesn't involve yeast. The only bread that I have really done well with is bagels. Which isn't exactly bread, but it does involve yeast so I will count it. Oh, and Pioneer Woman's pizza crust. But again, we're talking bagels and pizza crusts here, people. I have yet to be able to deliver on straight up bread. I can't make a sandwich with pizza crust. I want something I can slather some jelly on, some butter, or make a meal out of. Sourdough bread.

I admit that in the past, I probably should have used an actual cooking thermometer when trying to determine the temperature of the water before I put the yeast in it for making various breads. I mean, I'm giving myself too much credit when I feel it with my hand and think, "yeah, that's about 100 degrees." As if.

Anywho, I'm turning over a new leaf. I am determined. I am going to succeed at making bread. Not just any bread - sourdough bread. Yeah, sure, I know, it probably would be smart to start with something easier. But no, I decided, what the heck? Go big or go home. I'm going to make my own sourdough. And make my own sourdough starter. Like the real deal. Grow my own little yeast guys.

So I got all excited about this venture about ten days ago, got the ingredients, read the instructions, and decided I was all ready to go. I have a friend who is my sourdough mentor. He's the real deal. In case you aren't aware of what you have to do with a sourdough starter, let me liken it to something you might remember from your childhood. Tamagotchi, anyone? 

Yep. A virtual pet. I had one. And mine lived a very long life. Now, with a sourdough starter, you have the same basic concepts. A "pet" of sorts that you have to feed and take care of. Every day - at least until it grows, if you will, and then you only feed it once a week.

So, back to ten days ago. I got all my stuff together and began my starter. And it did great. I was following the instructions so carefully, making sure no one threw it out, and I was so proud. I showed everyone that came over. I could almost taste the delicious bread. Until. Day 7. Catastrophe struck and there was MOLD inside my starter. Black, fuzzy, disgusting mold. I was crushed. In the words of Anne Shirley, I was in the depths of despair. I wanted a sourdough loaf by Christmastime and lamesauce mold better not be what keeps me from it.

I didn't really have much of an option, since the jar was pretty covered in the fungus. I had to throw it out. That's seven days of a sourdough starter that I will never get back. But I'm here to claim that I am back on that horse.

I re-started my starter this weekend, and today is day four. So far, no mold, but I'm tempering my excitement this time. I don't know that I could take another crushing blow to my ego starter.

So that's where we are. Fingers crossed, mouth watering, and nervously trying to follow every instruction to a T. Sourdough by Christmas is my mantra. It will happen. I will succeed. And there will be pictures.

Wish me luck.



  1. Good luck! I hate when baking expeditions go awry. The only real bread I've ever made was when I made cinnamon rolls from scratch...yeast bread and all. It was quite an undertaking and took two tries to get the yeast to froth and the dough to rise properly.

  2. I kept a sourdough starter for years, but it got to the point that it was just too much work to keep up so I let it die right before Riggins was born. Perhaps someday I'll get it going again!

  3. good luck, stay with it, I'll be your taster anytime (as I am a big bread lover too!)

  4. Wow I had no idea sourdough was so complicated! I hope the starter kit turns out the second time around


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