For years I had been unwilling to attempt sourdough baking because I was put off by the idea of throwing away perfectly good ingredients just to maintain the sourdough starter. But a while ago, I’d read about making a smaller batch of starter. That was a revelation.
And now that we can go through a half a loaf of bread in one meal – thanks to my sons’ growing appetites – it was time to “up” my bread-baking game. With kids who seem to be hungry about an hour after a meal, it’s good to have plenty of bread on hand. So after I read a post last fall that made sourdough baking seem more approachable, I made my first batch of sourdough starter. I used just a quarter cup each of whole wheat flour and water per day for five days – no discarding was needed. With that starter, I make everyday sourdough a couple times per week and lots of sourdough crackers (half a batch at a time).
The bread is “top tier” in taste (to borrow a term from my teen), though it would not win any beauty contest. A lot of my loaves turn out sort of lop-sided, as the one shown. The crackers are tasty too, and have been known to disappear in one sitting, with or without hummus. I like that we can control the salt content.
Some days a spare moment is hard to come by, now that pandemic concerns have dissipated and we’re living life at top speed again, but I am making a point to hold on to slow food practices such as baking bread. Both the process and the results are worth it.