Oh, I hope you didn’t come here to learn something.
Before I begin my sorry sourdough tale, I should correct any illusion that this is a cooking/baking site. It’s a whatever-pops-into-my-head-this week site and for the last few weeks, it’s been popping with sourdough.
A few months ago, MrWI64 was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, a byproduct, I suspect, of a wartime childhood and the luxury of sugar.
This news coincided with the arrival of a spontaneous gift from Daughter #1: a cookbook on plant-based dining that is likely the perfect diet for Type 2. Suffice to say, total conversion has not gone well.
But then I read about sourdough. In a new food reality in which carbohydrates are monitored, we learned that, for science-y reasons, sourdough has less impact on blood sugar than other breads. This came as welcome news at Chez WI64 and – surprise, surprise – I received two sourdough cookbooks for Christmas. (I was also given a meat grinding attachment for my mixer. You can see a theme here).
I know zip about sourdough except that it requires a mother or starter, so I dived into recipe book #1 intent on starting. The book said: mix one Tbsp. of flour with 1 Tbsp. of water. Do this every day for a week or so, removing some of what you started the day before, then get baking. Easy.
Book #2, said pretty much the same thing, but instead of starting with 1 Tbsp. of flour it called for five pounds (!) and several cups of water.
With Book #2 off the table what with all that daily feeding of the mother amounting to 20-plus pounds of flour just to get started, I proceeded with recipe #1 and tablespoon by tablespoon I mothered the mother to life.
Bread is possible when the mother is bubbly and smells slightly sour.
This took about a week and then I made a loaf of bread that had the weight and consistency of a shot put. I fed it to seagulls and even they rejected it.
By now determined, I turned to the web and embarked on what became a series of science experiments.
I didn’t see this tablespoon at a time nonsense getting me far, so I found a new recipe and started again. The results a week later were iffy.
I carried on, letting that starter age and the following week, batch #3 was slightly better, but really only edible around the edges.
Daughter #2 makes bread weekly and referred me to a recipe that has yet to fail her.
I followed it but forgot the salt and got to mucking in it when I should’ve given up. Failure #4.
I told a few friends about my attempts. They couldn’t have been less interested.
So I started again. New mother, new measurements, new technique.
I followed the instructions, right down to baking my bread in a Dutch oven and Batch #6 was an almost success.
Batch #7 was better and here, right out the oven today, is Batch #8.
Sourdough is a mother to get started. But now, with a couple edible loafs under my belt, I’m feeling quasi-successful and to the relief of those around me, this may be the last you’ll hear about it.
Although I wouldn’t count on it.