Amanda gave me a sourdough mother a little over a year ago and I was immediately spellbound by the fermented magic. The mother came with a great story too: started in Bethel, Alaska during the Gold Rush by her friend’s great grandma. Fed and shared and tended to for over 100 years.
I bought books and overwhelmed myself with google searches. I made many (many!) unsuccessful loaves that we ate anyway. One day I shared a video on instagram that showed me sweating my way through kneading a dry, dense dough announcing my skepticism in achieving a “smooth and pliable” result. My friend who is an expert baker happened to see me wrestling with that dough at 9pm. Selden knocked on my door 15 minutes later with a book to read, a method to try and my favorite words of encouragement on my bread making journey, still to this day:
It’s still bread.
He said it when seeing my loaf that resembled a river rock and would make a decent bowling ball. It’s so true. Still made with love, still full of nutrition, still bread. I think about it all the time now when I over proof or neglect the starter or any of the million ways we can do a thing wrong and feel like it’s over. It’s not. Just different. Still bread.
That knock on the door, that book, that method was exactly what I kneaded (har!). I dorked out on the science and started fresh the next day making a loaf I was proud of on my first/fiftieth try.
Since then, I’ve grown to love making my family’s bread. The ritual, the nutrition, the self-sufficiency, the art, the science, the lore. It’s my favorite chore and I love sharing my loves.
In sharing my bread journey, I’ve been asked for recipes and direction that I haven’t felt comfortable giving because I myself am a student and relatively green one. But then I realized that might make me what feels accessible to people. I get it: this process can feel intimidating! The terminology, wizardry and equipment like an exclusive club. But it’s just not. There’s room for us all and we can all make beautiful bread with our hands in our kitchens.
So I decided it’d be fun to to host a workshop! But of course!, as the newbie, not alone. I invited my dear friend Kara to join me. She has 20 years of bread baking experience, both professionally and personally. She bakes up beautiful loaves, shares her knowledge and passion with gentle patience and is just all around one of my favorite humans. Yours too.
Together we were the major league and minor league, varsity and JV, expert and amateur — but aside from/within those credentials, we were and are two mamas who love making bread and sharing the craft with others.
The Art + Science of Sourdough happened yesterday and it went so well. We’re already talking about doing the next one and dreaming up an online version too…I still can’t wrap my mind around how to make that happen but I really love your requests for it and am working on it!
For lunch I made soup! It was good and I’d like to share.
Gingery Carrot Yam Soup / 12 servings
2 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
12-15 carrots, chopped
3 yams, peeled and chopped
3-4 golden beets, peeled and chopped
2 cans coconut milk
a handful of fresh ginger (like 3″), peeled and minced
salt & pepp
Add the onion, garlic and olive oil to your pot, cooking over high heat until soft. Add carrots, beets, yams and enough water to just cover. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until veggies are just soft (about 30 minutes I’d guess). Use a stick blender to purée the soup. Add 2 cans coconut milk, ginger, salt and pepper. Let simmer, covered for 20 minutes.
Your loaves are so beautiful!
If anyone is looking for non-sourdough – I’ve had really good luck using the recipe in Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. While the title sounds a bit kitschy – it’s a pretty quick process and it’s forgiving (I always add flax meal and chia seeds to my recipe – just dumping them in, never measuring, and it always turns out ok). It’s a few minutes in a stand mixer, two rises, and then in the oven. The actual hands-on time is minimal. I find that one batch of the stock recipe they recommend is perfect for one sandwich loaf and one pizza dough.
But – I’m going to add Tartine Bread to my library queue 🙂