Other than a daily post, I have been pretty social silent. As I was getting ready to put this day to bed, I was drawn to my computer to share, and here we are. I have turned a great deal of my efforts these days into the basics. As many of you may already know, I have two dogs, 9 chickens and a love for making sourdough bread. Little did I know that these things were going to catapult me into a world of some of the best self-nurturing and self-examination that no one could have prepared me for. Call it grandma mode. Call it crone stage. Call it hibernation. I am fine with any and all of those things, but most importantly, I call it peace and acceptance.
During the Covid era, sourdough became a huge thing for many people as yeast was extremely scarce. I did not participate at that time, although my daughter did and she was very good at all of the things that she made from that starter...from waffles, to pretzels, she was making it all. Did I mention she was very good at it! Wasn't for me...I wasn't ready to delve into those depths. Fast forward to about a year ago, after i was settled in my new home and I felt called(for some unforeseen reason) to create a starter. After many failed attempts, I finally asked a family friend for some advice on why my starter would not start and she was kind enough to share her starter with me. I am more grateful for that than she will ever know. Thank you Kristen...
I stopped at her home and with my flourishing starter I was on my way home to begin my bread making era. HAHAHAHA!! Silly me...The bread was the smallest part of this journey. Since bringing that starter home, I have learned so much about myself and most importantly, how to surrender to the process. Over this past year, I have gone through a lot of flour, a lot of parchment paper, a lot of discard and a lot of learning. I took an online class that helped me find the knowledge I was lacking and a recipe for bread that finally began to make sense. Some of my family members requested to be taken off of the bread and treat list as I couldn't get enough of the experimentation, and I couldn't possibly eat it all so I shared, and I shared, and I shared some more!
Would I say that I have mastered this sourdough journey? Absolutely not. What I would say is that It has been an extremely rewarding time for me as I have learned that it takes time. It takes nurturing. It takes trusting yourself and what works best for you. It takes accepting things that don't work out as planned not as a failure, but as a learning lesson. I correlate that one, which is a big one, too being in school and getting something on a test wrong. I couldn't tell you what I got right, but the problems or the answers that weren't correct were what I remember, because I was reminded of what the better choice would have been. It wasn't a mistake, It was a lesson.
I have learned that sometimes, you can make dough the same way each time, but it may not turn out the way you had hoped. So what may the factors be? Humidity. Temperature. Timing of using your starter. There are so many more. Most of the loaves that I have made that turned out what I would deem as the best are the ones when I trusted myself. Trusted to add more water because the dough seemed too dry. Trusted to add more flour because the dough seemed too wet. Those were the moments when I didn't follow a cookbook, instead I followed my heart. Followed my gut. Followed the messages that my hands were giving me as they delved deep into the dough and were covered completely and there was no getting that dough off right away.
I have since shared this happy little starter with many who have asked. Some have begun the journey and continue with it and some aren't quite ready to take the leap. I respect both choices as this sourdough bread era is a process. It is a journey and it truly, for me, was stepping into the acceptance of surrendering. So what if the bread isn't the fluffiest as the last loaf...well it still tastes good. Trying new combinations when stuffing a loaf and trying it and surprising yourself with how wonderful some random combination tastes! I correlate this journey to so many things that have transpired in my life and continue too....the process is the present...the bread? Well the bread is the beautiful result of the lesson.