Due to temporary budget shortfalls, I find myself spending my Saturdays elbow deep in breadmaking. Sourdough
bread is perhaps one of the most primal forms of bread relying an an artificial ecosystem of hundreds of different bacteria and yeasts
to digest grain flours and produce gas. The souring of the dough has complex effects
on the flavor of the resulting bread and is necessary for low-protein flours such as rye. Free starter cultures can be obtained from the friends of Carl
who continue his tradition of mailing his culture to anyone who sent a self-addressed stamped envelope. You can buy cultures from around the world,
but if you want to live dangerously, you can cultivate your own by just using a mixture of flour and water relying on microbial flora growing on the flour. Sourdough in some ways puts the art of hacking back into breadmaking
because it requires a deeper understanding of what is going on beyond just throwing a set of dry and wet ingredients into a bread machine.
Which could explain why I'm still lucky to get something other than a brick. But like beermaking, the DIY satisfaction makes up for many flaws in the final product. (And on final edit, I can't get away with making this post without the obligatory link to the sourdough faqs.
posted by KirkJobSluder
on Jul 3, 2004 -