Patience and Process

For over a year now, I’ve been the proud owner of a sourdough starter. I call it a very low-maintenance pet because it is honestly a jar of living organisms that you have to feed and take care of. However, it isn’t a lot of effort and I’ve had it living in my fridge for a while. I feed it when it needs it and I’ve used it for sourdough pancakes and sourdough quick breads.

I’ve never actually tackled making a real, honest-to-goodness sourdough bread, though. This weekend, that changes!

This weekend I am making sourdough bread, following a recipes in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. It is a lovely book with many photographs, good diagrams, extensive recipes and really good tips.

The first step to the bread dough is to take my basic starter, mix in some flour&water, and let it transform into the next stage of goop: “barm”. Oooh! Technical baking terms! It’s going to take 6 hours for the starter to become ready-to-be-used Barm. I keep thinking about Pokemon evolutions: Starter has evolved into Barm! Next, with enough XP, Barm will transform into Bread! That won’t happen until tomorrow, though, and not until after a whole process of mixing, rising, and baking.

Bread baking seems like such a daunting task because of the time involved. However, after spending all summer working on ice cream, I’ve had to learn a lot about waiting around. Chilling and churning ice cream takes a while. You learn to time things and do other things in the meantime. Baking bread may be just my speed after all.

Here is the Barm on the left, starting its 6 hours of yeast activation/partying. The rest of the starter, on the right, is going back into the fridge to wait for its day.

Yeast in action!
Yeast in action!

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