No one is as surprised as I am that baking, and in particular sourdough baking, is such a big part of my life. What can I say? It’s fun. Even magical. But I’m not one who thinks this food is the cure. If the Israelites ate bread that fell from heaven and still died, I’m pretty sure no sourdough is going to put you on the path of perfect health. It’ll take Jesus, who is the bread of life, along with a new earth unbroken by sin, to do that. But temporal food is necessary and baking sourdough has made me keenly aware of the joy that can come from warm bread offered freely with love. It’s made me ponder how a small bit of leaven can transform a whole lump. We’ve all got leaven working through us–whether of God’s kingdom or a terrible sort. It matters which it is.
Sourdough, for me, is art and science. It’s predictable. Control the variables and you can achieve stellar outcomes every time. And it’s creative–the colors, the flavors of bread, the scoring, the rise, the fact that every loaf is a bit different from the next because I want it to be. All that to say, go ahead and try it. You’ll probably fail (as I often do), but you’ll also probably succeed and it’ll be worth it. Check out links to the process and recipes below.
For how to get started making your own starter and baking bread:
Chad Robertson’s Tartine -This is the gold standard for the sourdough country loaf and the recipe is free on the NYTimes. Tartine also has a break book that’s worth owning if you’re really going to get into this. It’s part cookbook part narrative of a man bent on baking the best bread in the world. I think he succeeded.
Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Bread’s Everyday– I got my start here. This is a really good method that differs from Tartine, but has the benefit of being particularly amenable for home bakers. I often adapt his recipes to Tartine’s method and end up with some great results!
King Arthur Flour– This website provides all you need to get your starter going and get baking. I believe they will also mail you a starter for purchase if you don’t want to fuss with starting your own (but I loved starting my own–it’s fun, it’s easy, and it’s very satisfying).
My Daily Sourdough Bread– I love this website. The pics are gorgeous and the recipes work. I especially like the chocolate cinnamon twist bread. It’s a brioche in it’s loveliest form–and adaptable to different fillings.
Min from Min’s Kitchen– Min was my original inspiration. A friend sent me to her insta account and I was hooked. I knew I had to try to make bread like she did. She oozes beauty and artfulness in all her baking.