Baking Bread at the End of the World

Behold my glorious mess in the making!

When the world is on fire, I bake bread. That’s what I decided this week. The Great Sourdough Experiment has begun!

As I mentioned before, I’ve been wanting to make my own sourdough starter for a bit. Given that the grocery stores here are now completely out of bread (and eggs, and milk, and of course toilet paper), I figured now’s as good a time as any to give it a shot.

Getting a starter going is supposed to take about a week or so. Today was Day 1. I spent approximately five hours double-checking websites and cookbooks and back alleys before finally settling on the idea of just doing the thing. It took about five minutes.

I should note here that I’ve already gone off book. Pretty much all the recipes I saw called for around a cup of whole wheat flour. I ended up using 1/4 cup. Call it personal choice. Really, I just didn’t want to waste a bunch of flour on an experiment that may fail hard. I don’t know when I might be able to find flour on the grocery store shelves again.

So my ultimate recipe was: 40g whole wheat flour (King Arthur stone-ground White Wheat Flour) and 40g water. It dawns on me now as I write this that whole wheat flour and white wheat flour may not be the same thing. Hmm… Isn’t this fun?

I measured and added the contents into a small jar and mixed thoroughly, all while explaining to my son what we were doing. I use “we” quite loosely here, much in the same but inverted way that “we” were watching his iPad the entire time. But I digress.

We got the job done. And now a New Thing sits on our kitchen counter. The next few days should be entertaining as we feed and care for our new pet and watch it grow. And it dawns on me now that I should probably start figuring out the next steps of how to actually bake bread, and what kind of things I can bake with this thing.

Schools are cancelled for at least the next couple weeks here, so this is how I’m going to be teaching my son. I don’t know new math. I don’t know any of the classroom songs. And I don’t know how to make my own bread. This week, I’m going to remedy one of those things.