slow-living-sourdough-bread

Sourdough bread seems like a perfect practice for slow living. There is absolutely no option to rush it – trust me, I’ve checked. You can’t use your bread machine, or a food processor, or a packet mix from the supermarket. You simply cannot cheat.

Instead, you need patience, and a few minutes each day of careful, deliberate ritual. The most important ingredient in sourdough, in fact, is time; time for the starter to grow, time for the dough rise as slowly as possible. Then time spent folding & kneadilng by hand, to make the perfect, airy texture.

& so I am making my first starter, a witches brew that bubbles & coughs from its jar in the kitchen. I’m following this recipe here, just flour and water; so far it seems to be working.

In the past, I’ve been handed starters ready made by friends; a sloppy baking chain-letter, needing a few days of feeding and mixing to bring to point of use. Each time, I have failed spectacularly in my care for them – no time, too busy for all that careful weighing & stirring. I recall pouring a curdled, neglected batch down the sink once, and hearing it groan horribly in the pipes afterwards for hours.

So silly considering sourdough bread is so delicious! Michael Pollan, sensible food genius extraordinaire, when asked what he most recommended buying organic for a child, said, “whatever they eat the most of.”
For Orla, that is bread; toast, sandwiches, sliced on the side with soup. All 3 of us, really, and yet we buy organic veggies and dairy, & rubbish, supermarket bread.

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So I have a hope, a plan, to bake a weekly sourdough loaf or two. I’m prepared for disasters, but I’m also excited; sunny Sunday mornings spent working out the week’s frustrations into a floury pile of sustenance and goodness for this little family of mine.
Compared to our usual last-minute dash to the co-op to grab a pre-sliced, mass-produced, plastic-wrapped loaf of homogenous sponge, this will be fantastically snail-paced slow living.

I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

24 Comments

  • Nicki - ON THE CHANGING MAT

  • February 05, 2015

Toast is what my Joseph eats the most of too – I am inspired to try my hand at bread making too. Nicki x

  • Sara

  • February 02, 2015

Thanks for this, Lily! I expect I’ll be bomarding you with so many questions you’ll live to regret that offer! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Off to look up the books you suggest & make sure I’m following you over on IG. I too am a ‘study in depth’ type baker – & I hate to fail!

  • Sara

  • February 02, 2015

Haha! Sign me up for daily deliveries when they do – and some fat free butter to match! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Sara

  • February 02, 2015

Lucky lucky lucky to live close to a good bakery. I’ll bet they’d sell you some starter if you asked nicely – it’s always best to start with an established one if you can (apparently!).
Yes, the organic rule made a lot of sense to me – I think the questioner was expecting an answer to do with what absorbs chemicals the most etc, but actually, it makes sense to start by looking at your diet!
Thanks for stopping by! x

  • Sara

  • February 02, 2015

Mmm sounds delish! Yes, if this isn’t a nudge from the universe to get baking, I don’t know what is! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • sustainable and the city

  • February 01, 2015

sounds like a fantastic idea. i know what you mean, once you start eating “real” bread, all the other stuff begins to feel like fluffy fake sponge. i’m lucky enough to live one minute away from an incredible sourdough bakery, however i would love to try making my own some day. also, i’ve never approached organic foods like that – buying whatever it is that you use most – but it makes total, total sense!

  • Francine

  • January 31, 2015

Yesterday whรฎle making myself delicious grilled cheese tartines on supermarket sliced bread, I thought to myself that what I really needed to be using was sourdough bread. And today I come across your beautiful post. Serendipity at its finest ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Lily

  • January 28, 2015

I have just started making sourdough for my family of 5, a couple of months ago! It’s been a real journey and yes, you need to make time for it. It can take 2 to 3 days just to get the loaf that you want. On the other hand, there is a great flexibility to it, where you can leave it to when you have time for it as well. I studied it in depth for a couple of months and have come to discover the approach that seems to work well for me. I loved both the Tartine book and the Josey Baker book. But then I discovered Tartine 3, and I’m completely starting to segway into using ancient grains to make naturally leavened bread. I can’t wait to hear more about your journey on bread making, and if you are searching for suggestions, I’m happy to help in any way I can. I am still a novice at this though! I will try and get some pics up on my Instagram the next time I make bread … @whistlingduneslily

  • Sara

  • January 28, 2015

thanks Susanne ๐Ÿ™‚ x

  • Lydia

  • January 28, 2015

I love bread but I’m trying so hard to be good!! Perhaps someone will invent a calorie free loaf one day!!

  • Sara

  • January 28, 2015

Oh do let me know how you get on! It’s the best kind of bread.. I’m becoming a little bit obsessed! xx

  • Sara

  • January 28, 2015

Agreed, it’s the best. And I’m loving being called a doll! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • susanne

  • January 27, 2015

a beautiful sunday morning ritual!

  • Amanda Kenney

  • January 27, 2015

There is nothing like homemade read. And, you are a doll. 100%

  • Emory Ann Kurysh

  • January 27, 2015

Awe, what a beautiful and lovely post and a gentle reminder that we can attempt to eat well and healthily even amongst a busy schedule. I think that I, too, will attempt to make sour dough bread.

  • Elizabeth Rebecca

  • January 27, 2015

I love the sourdough bread – I need to make some more.

Lizzie Dripping

  • Sara

  • January 26, 2015

Years! Ask him to teach me his ways!
I’m cheered by finding so many people are fanatical about it, though; it does seem to be the case that once people start baking it they don’t want to stop! Hope your rye was a success ๐Ÿ™‚ x

  • Charlotte

  • January 25, 2015

My boyfriend regularly makes sourdough so I am very used to bubbling concoctions on the kitchen counter and finding flour from floor to ceiling. It’s definitely a slow process but he’s perfected it now after years (yes, I said years). I’m more of a cake baker myself but I am attempting rye bread today for the first time. I’m looking forward to seeing how your sourdough baking goes! x Charlotte

  • Sara

  • January 24, 2015

Oh Emma, apologies for my cruelly tempting reminders! Youre the sweetest x

  • Emma

  • January 24, 2015

Oh how I miss sourdough bread, now that I can no longer tolerate wheat. But it sounds like the perfect way to live slowly, have fun baking x

  • Sara

  • January 23, 2015

Hurray! & yes, you must!
I was completely overwhelmed by all old wives tales circulating about needing pineapple juice/grapes/eye of newt to get started. Flour and water seems much more manageable! x

  • Sara

  • January 23, 2015

It is and IT IS. I’m too good to compete; they’ve got me lined up for when Merry Berry bites the biscuit, so to speak… ๐Ÿ˜‰ x

  • Emma G

  • January 23, 2015

This is just what I was after – a sourdough recipe that wasn’t scary! Will try it out next weekend:

  • Rebecca

  • January 23, 2015

The bread looks gorgeous and sounds like a saga. When are you going on the Bake Off?

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