Good things come to those who wait
One of life’s simple pleasures – the heavenly aroma of freshly baked bread. It’s a delightful morning ritual for some but a lifelong torrid affair for others.
Bread was absent from my life for many years, then one bite of a warm toasted and buttered artisan Sourdough, my romance with bread was rekindled.
What is Sourdough?
Sourdough making has been around since the ancient times until commercial yeast was introduced in the early 19th century.
Sourdough is made from fermented culture, ‘starter’ also known as ‘mother’. It’s created by capturing micro flora naturally present in your environment – on the flour, on your hands, in the air…
The ‘starter’ is made with equal parts flour and water and ‘fed’ or ‘hydrated’ regularly to keep the microbes alive.
A portion of the ‘starter’ is mixed with flour and water to make a dough of the desired consistency then shaped, leavened and baked – to put in simplified terms.
French bakers brought the methods of Pain au Levain to California during the Gold Rush in the mid 1800s and it remains a prominent part of their food culture.
It’s been said the ‘mother’ from the famous Boudin Bakery was rescued from a fire by the baker’s wife in the great earthquake of San Francisco in 1906 and still being used to produce their breads to this day.
The unique flavour and texture of Sourdough is developed from the carbon dioxide bubbles created during the enduring fermentation process of the ‘starter’ and the natural leavening and proofing process of the dough, which could take up to about 24 hours, and finally the lengthy and rather complex baking process.
The revival of Sourdough making in the recent years has influenced other popular products such as pizza, donuts and pancakes. It’s also know to be ‘healthier’ than the products made with the same ingredients. Perhaps it’s the lactic acid and the lack of gluten present in Sourdough that gives its natural longer shelf-life and easily digestible properties.
My appreciation for Sourdough bread deepened when I discovered the science and knowledge, patience and passion behind producing these beautifully crafted loaves – truly worthy of their ‘artisan’ status.
Bread is no longer my guilty pleasure. It’s indeed my pleasure breaking into a perfect Sourdough’s crunchy crust to reveal its tangy and airy sponge… it was worth the wait.