I’ve written before (click here – Feb. 2019) about my love of ‘real bread’ and catching the sourdough baking bug. It signposts the recipes I trust most, as well as plenty of other useful links.
This month has been designated ‘Sourdough September‘ by the ‘Real Bread Campaign‘, so before the month is through, I wanted to make sure I had used the opportunity to ‘spread the love‘ for this passion, and share the way it puts a smile on so many faces. The theme this year is the ‘Power of Three‘, underlining how it is all simply about flour, water and salt – and nothing else.
Keeping a sourdough starter alive seems to add another dimension to time, and the relationship with the texture of the dough, and learning from the twists and turns of each bake is all part of the love affair. And then, of course, there’s the taste. Laura Wolfgang puts it so beautifully in this video below.
I love sharing my sourdough. I bake a couple of loaves at least three times a week. One of my neighbours is 96 year old Margaret, and she likes half a loaf to go with her soup. On the community bus, I try to share a loaf with some of the regulars, or some prefer a few slices. Sometimes it’s a complete stranger. I might get a pot of homemade chutney by return – or it might just be a big smile. If I’m meeting up with someone I’ve haven’t seen for a while, I’ll try and take a freshly baked loaf along with me.
With at least two people, I have managed to pass on the starter recipe, and the love of sourdough baking itself. In Simon’s case, he is now baking more often than me.
For some reason, many people have never tried baking sourdough because they think it is too complicated, but once you think of the baking schedule in terms of a ‘clock’, and integrated it into your own schedule, it becomes really simple, almost addictive. I find each loaf takes around two days from beginning to end.
As well as all the people who I give loaves to, I’ve met so many people through Twitter and Instagram in particular as part of a wider sourdough community – a particular mention for ‘Bake with Jack‘ for the passion and flair he shows in his videos.
Instagram gets inundated with what are called ‘crumb shots’ and photos of beautiful loaves. The ‘Real Bread Campaign‘ have asked for us to share #sourdoughselfies to get more of an idea of those of us who have the sourdough bug – so this is me below with a couple of my most recent bakes.
I’ll end with this track from the 70s – “Make It With You” by Bread. If you’ve not tried baking your own sourdough bread, give it a try. If you need a recipe, look up my previous post or try one of Bake with Jack’s videos. It’s more than just poetry, science, or craft – it feels like a personal political act. And during these times, that feels good.