Is everyone baking sourdough without me?

My sister sent me this tweet today, which made me I laughed out loud:
This past weekend, I baked my second loaf of Broken Leg Sourdough.  When I was laid up that first week after surgery, one of the first things I did in my drug-addled haze was order an Alaskan sourdough starter.  I had tried making my own sourdough starter 2-3 years ago and ended up throwing it out when we moved into the house.  It was a fine first attempt but also pretty mild and easygoing, not qualities you’re looking for when you are baking sourdough.  You want a sourdough like a Tasmanian devil - always hungry and very aggressive.   After reading more about sourdough, part of which came from this Robin Sloan novel aptly titled Sourdough, I learned that certain areas of the world have really good sourdough starters due to the wild yeast and bacteria in those regions.

I went on etsy - my current favourite place to find anything kitchen-related - and ordered here.  Four days after surgery, I hobbled into the kitchen and began feeding my starter.  I didn’t use any special flour or water - just plain ol’ AP flour and tap water.  And this starter is hungry.  From the third day onward, the starter - let’s call him Broken Leg or BL for short - would eat up anything I fed him within hours.  BL’s gotten so hungry that I take him out to feed him (and bake) once a week and put him right back in the fridge, lest he start reaching goopy arms out and grabbing everything in sight.

First sourdough loaf
When your leg is broken or when you’re housebound and all of a sudden have all the time in the world, sourdough is a perfect project.  It makes only moderate demands on your energy and requires mainly time.  So far, I’ve done all of my bakes in a Staub dutch oven and they’ve turned out perfect each time.  I’ve used this no-knead Food52 recipe.  There are others that call for all types of different flour (bread flour is preferred, I think), however when you are in a quarantine and also haven’t gone to the grocery store in over a month, you’ll make do with AP flour and this recipe works just fine with that.  Semi pro tip: If you don’t know it’s done, even if the outside is browned and crispy, you’re looking for an internal temperature above 200 degrees F.  We use our meat probe to make sure the bread is baked through.

Since all our foreseeable futures have quite a bit of home time, I encourage you to try sourdough, or just baking bread in general especially if you haven’t had the time or patience for it before.  The scent of fresh baked bread wafting through the air will lift the most dour of moods.  Or Bryan's theory that everyone’s baking sourdough because watching bread rise is actually an event nowadays.


Comments

  1. Funny you should mention sourdough, I am getting a starter this week as a gift for horse sitting and I am so excited to finally bake some sourdough!

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    1. Yay, keep me posted as to how it turns out!

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  2. I don't like sourdough (I know I'm terrible), but I've been baking other fun breads. Trying to make copycat cheesecake factory brown bread rolls today, but they are not rising well, so I feel like they're gonna be a fail.

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    1. I haven't found a baked good I don't like. Share your fave recipes please!

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  3. I'm kind of ambivalent about sourdough but I have so been baking bread!

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    1. I know you've been using the heck out of that pretty new mixer you got

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  4. It's rare to find sourdough where we are even before the quarantine. Your sourdough looks good! My husband however was on a baking spree yesterday and made loads of baguette that would go straight to the freezer and chocolate banana bread made with about to go rotten bananas.

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    1. Yum banana bread sounds perfect right about now

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  5. All I can say is if anyone hasnt read Sourdough go get it now. Also the other book by the same author is great too Mr Penumbra's 24 hour bookstore. I love both of them and recommend them as an audio book. In fact i think i can gift one or two to you guys from audible if anyone wants either of them. I don't bake bread but after Sourdough the book I look at it all quite a bit differently :) HA!

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    1. That's such a nice offer! I've enjoyed both of those books. Now I'm going to pester you for book recommendations! Anything good you're reading lately?

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  6. Thanks for that Food52 link, Ruth! I've made homemade pizza, but not bread. This sourdough one looks good!

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    1. Sourdough pizza is also surprisingly yummy!

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