My Sourdough Chronicles

— A year-long journey

tartine country bread

I got up and baked two loaves of sourdough. I’d spent the evening before preparing while watching videos of Chad Robertson making the same recipe.

The yeast, the invisible force, that makes the bread work–it cannot be discussed easily on forums online. Many have issues but no one can describe them concretely. I had to make so many guesses to progress.

When I began this bread journey last year, I made my own starter. Even if it did get foamy in the early days, it never made my bread rise.

I handed a sample of the starter to my mother in law and she used it to bake frequently. My dough wouldn’t form correctly. It was frustrating to spend hours on dough that never made it to bread phase. I took a break and after several months, I got a sample back. It was foamy and my bread started turning out better.

What is the deal with fresh yeast?

My husband’s mother bakes a lot. Perhaps her kitchen was a better environment for the development of yeast. How does it all develop?

Is there a way to microscopically understand what’s happening? If I bought a microscope could I tell why my starter is behaving a certain way one day and another the next?

Is there a way to find out the things I really want to know? Google seems to be good for things ‘I sorta want to know’ but totally useless in the realm of ‘what I really want to know’.

Anways. I did get far. Even if it took a year.

Below are my Sourdough Chronicles. I got somewhere even when most of the time it felt like I was going nowhere.

September 14, 2016 - Starter yeast is ready

September 15, 2016 - My first attempt at sourdough

September 19, 2016 - After my failure, I pick myself up again for a second attempt

September 30, 2016 - Failing a different way

October 28, 2016 - the time I thought it’d work

April 5, 2017 - Finally…baked bread. Hallelujah!

June 5, 2017 - Another loaf. It’s working! (And a video of what the process was like.)

September 3, 2017 - Failed again after making the same recipe for pizza dough. I thought I’d left the realm of failure.

October 18, 2017 - 2 loaf success!

Today: Super puffy, the dough raised so much higher and looked more like artisanal bread than any loaf prior.

journal

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