COMMENTARY

Sourdough bread for sour times

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Sometime between homeschooling my boys and fighting my sewing machine to make facemasks, this hesitant pioneer woman decided she’d try her hand at baking sourdough bread.


Maybe something clicked when my hair stylist texted me that we wouldn’t be getting together anytime soon around a shampoo bowl, or maybe it was when Amazon Prime said they weren’t able to deliver my “non-essentials” in a timely fashion. Amongst the chaos and calamity, my normal world stopped spinning, and I turned to Jesus and a five-pound bag of flour.

             
I’d never want to make light of a situation that is truly dire. People are hurting, and uncertainty has never provided peace. My hope is that these different days press us into sunny and simpler ones. My prayers are for everyone, those who blissfully decorate with sidewalk chalk to those who are stuck indefinitely inside nursing facilities.

             
Baking, for me, has always been a sort of escape. In a time where Spring Break trips and Hobby Lobby browsing has been cancelled, I find retreat with a rolling pin. Artisan sourdough bread pictures have taken over my social media feed for almost a year. Pictures of their beautiful, crispy scored tops that beckon families to gather around farmhouse tables are a stark comparison to the Goldfish cracker crumbs and laundry piles that grace mine. Oh, but now we’ve got a chance to try something new, and yeast is an unattainable commodity at the grocery. Surely, these sour times call for sourdough bread.

             
But first, you need a starter.

             
Sourdough starter is the fermented dough that makes the bread rise. Many are turning to sourdough breads as the health benefits of fermented foods proves invaluable for gut health. The natural process of dough fermentation releases nutrients and minerals such as iron, zinc, and selenium. It’s also a great source of B vitamins.

             
In the absence of handy, little yeast packets, sourdough starters were once shared and passed down for generations. It’s a common practice in many kitchens to name your starter, whether for luck or because having a bread starter requires as much attention as a pet, I’m not sure. Either way, my starter is Martha, named after the Biblical hostess with the mostest.

             
My first attempt at sourdough bread wasn’t much to write about. My second attempt lacked that golden crust and the novelty of trying something new. My third attempt was, well, waffles.

             
And delicious, crispy, light waffles were just the simple treat we all needed before Kindergarten math. Stay safe, friends!


Neena is a Kentucky wife, mother, daughter, and beekeeper who does life in Owensboro. Her first novel, The Bird and the Bees, is a Christian contemporary romance set to be released in April 2020. Visit her at wordslikehoney.com.

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