The food horizon is always changing around here. Reading, trial and error, dinners shared and tips exchanged the collective "we" and the small group of four of us try out new textures and tastes. Some are more successful than others and for my style of learning it's a curve. A long one. And our road to sourdough has been a few years in the making now. Beginning with reading Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats and then little snippets here and there which lead me to stop making the commercial yeast bread I had been making and start buying sourdough until I had the emotional courage to try the process on my own.
Taking a cooking class was really helpful. 3 hours to watch and feel and learn the process. What I came away with first off was that this process is more intuitive than precise. That was something I came to understand in my previous work with bread as well. So to learn is: to do, to fail or succeed, take note and try again. This process will involve using each sense to become attuned to the living culture that is in my fridge; feeding it, making it grow and develop in a way that is unique to me and my surroundings.
For more info on sourdough I recommend reading the above book or checking out Sourdough Companion.
I came home from the class with some sourdough starter and a few days later tried my luck. Feeding the starter creates more than what would be needed to make one loaf so I made crackers and bread.
Using this recipe I was happy with how the crackers turned out.
The bread kept me guessing and took a long time. I'll have to get used to the timing thing. As I said before it's all about creating an intuitive exchange between me and the rising flour. The final loaf wasn't much to look at but tasted good. Everyone in the house ate it without complaint so I feel that in and of itself is a success. Tomorrow I'm going to give sourdough pancakes a go. We'll see how my 4 year old pancake connoisseur rates them.