Project: Sourdough Bread

I am, at heart, a California girl. I was raised in Gold Country, where tales of “Sourdough Miners” were part of my childhood, and trips to San Francisco could only be made better by clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl eaten on the open air as we dodged seagulls on Fisherman’s Wharf. In short, “sourdough” is synonymous with home for me.

I am guessing that is what has been behind my drive to learn how to bake sourdough bread since I moved to the Pacific Northwet almost four years ago. Yes, I can find some decent sourdough here, but something inside me has needed to make it myself. However, to paraphrase the old saying, if wishes were loaves, I would have opened a bakery by now. Truth be told, I am not a great baker. My husband is far, far handier with the oven than I am, while I am mistress of the stove and crock pot. Therefore, despite diligent efforts, I have failed repeatedly.

Until this past week!

I think the stars finally aligned for two reasons. First, this past January, I took a class on making sourdough at the Country Living Expo. There, I found a teacher who convinced me that ordinary mortals can actually do this and provided the class with a seven-day chart derived from a King Arthur Flour recipe to feed my starter and a basic sourdough recipe that she essentially swore we could not screw up if we followed the directions. (I would post a link to that recipe, but I can’t find the original source to give it proper attribution.) Second, I copped a sample of sourdough starter from my friend, Andrea at Farm and Hearth. Although I believe that you can create sourdough starter pretty much out of flour, water, and thin air, I had more confidence using Andrea’s starter since everything she touches seems to turn out delicious.

For the better part of a week, I worked at feeding my starter at the right intervals, then kneading and proofing. And this resulted!

Sourdough Bread











Probably more gratifying to me than the actual loaves is the fact the bread disappeared shortly after the picture was taken as my sons, husband and even diet-conscious mom consumed chunk after chunk. Indeed, my oldest and pickiest son, who would gladly exist on sugar and simple carbs preferably from a box, said that my bread was not only really good, but better than what we have been buying at the store. Now that is what I call a delicious victory!!