What is sourdough?
Sourdough is a way of life but it’s also a type of bread made with a natural leavening agent relying on a slow fermentation of the dough. Sourdough bread has a bit of a sour taste, and is very popular in San Francisco and in Paris.
Thanks to Clotilde who gave me a little bit of her own starter, I’ve been feeding my sourdough starter and making sourdough bread with him for 8 years. (Check out Clotilde’s blog for info on how to get started).
You can baptize your starter if you like. Mine is called Fluffy. It has a delicate smell half-way between vinegar and candy. Watching it double in size and then go down like a soufflé is a real treat, kind of like having your own kid - or a somewhat immature boyfriend - and feeding him except it doesn’t cry and it will never walk - and you can totally let it starve for a few days, it will jump right back again. We quickly became best friends. Then I realized I was falling in love with him (watch season 2 for details of our relationship)
You can start your own starter from scratch, a fun process taking about a week before the good bacteria lactobacilli win over the bad ones (the good ones smell good while the bad ones smell, well, bad). To make your own starter, check out the life-changing tips - you will learn how to get started and how to travel the world with your new companion/lover/friend.
The whole point of maintaining a natural starter is to make your own bread with nothing else than these three ingredients - flour, water, salt. This is truly amazing and beats every other kind of home made bread (no-knead bread, regular bread with artificial yeast, soda bread) both on a level of taste and looks. The crust of home baked sourdough bread will blow you away. And nothing beats the smell of sourdough bread rising in the oven.
You can read an essay I wrote about falling in love with sourdough bread here.