Ennie and I watched a show on Netflix — Cooked, by Michael Pollan — about much of the history of food as told by the “four elements.” Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. I would highly recommend the show in any case.
When we watched the Air episode there was a good segment on bread-making through the ages. A history of grain, yeast, bacteria, and the ancient world. How humans have adapted to bread. How bread has been made in pre-history and how it shaped society and moved us from being social to being a society.
It moved on to how bread has changed in the modern era; moving from natural yeasts and bacteria to commercial yeasts and how the food has been affected by that shift. Yeast breads have a lot more gluten in them compared to sourdough breads since the bacteria (which is absent from the yeast-only breads) process much of the gluten in the bread. It also processes some of the grains into things that we are able to use ourselves.
We got to talking about sourdough.
Now we made our own.
This is our first loaf! Other than not adding enough salt (minor quibble) and despite the fact we manhandled it moving it from the proofing box to the cooking sheet it came out nearly perfect!
But lets start from the beginning…
We got the packet of yeast and bacteria in the mail…
It started off with a really pathetic looking beginning:
That’s what it looked like on Wednesday night.
We kept it fed and in the first couple of days we got a few small bubbles but not a whole lot. This wasn’t surprising, but it was one of those moments when we just had to soldier on with the feeding.
On Friday night it got bubbly for real for the first time.
On Saturday the proofing box arrived.
I briefly though of rolling my own from parts I had on hand, but that’s a different post.
From here the starter went gangbusters!
We ought to have waited a few more days, but I figured the worst that would happen is I would waste three cups of flour. This morning I tossed in the starter that would have been discarded anyway (part of the feeding process) into the Kitchenaid along with some flour, water, and salt…
Then we baked it and out came bread.
It wasn’t going to win a beauty pageant, but it was bread. My bread. That I made myself.
And that made it taste better, even if it could have used another 1/2 teaspoon of salt.