Covid Cooking – The Sourdough Craze

Sourdough bread went through a hot phase during the Covid-19 virus worldwide quarantine lockdown and supply shortage of spring 2020. I was not immune to its call. However, I like to think I created the craze, mostly because I began my sourdough starter way back in Jan 2020. Note this is a good 3 – 4 months earlier than spring.

I fed my starter. I nurtured it like the newborn baby it was. I fed it once sometimes twice a day. I repurposed a perfect glass jar, scrubbed it clean, goo-goned the sticky label off so that it looked decent, and created a cozy home for it. I created a place of honor for it on the scarce counter. I kept the house temperature in the ideal range plus or minus 10-20 degrees. I talked to it and kept it happy. In fact, I waited an extra few weeks to get it good and going with that natural southern California bacteria or yeast or whatever it is floating around in the air that makes it alive. I relentlessly hunted down unbleached flour as if it were a tick on my dog’s backside. I got up early, waited in lines, went store to store, and scoured online for the elusive unbleached flour, just to make sure I properly fed my baby.

When the time came to make my first loaf, I toiled, I kneaded, I read the friggin directions 5-6 times, possibly more!

Checklist, timer, and rising dough baby
Checklist, timer, and rising dough baby

sourdough set to rise

    Sourdough set to rise

I did everything by the book. Except what I couldn’t. But only because I didn’t have fancy baking equipment. I used what I had and my online chef promised me it would suffice if I followed the instructions.

When it bubbled, I cried tears of joy, and then I took pictures.

Bubbling dough - it's alive!
Bubbling dough – it’s alive!

I made a checklist and set timers.

Resting dough
Resting dough wads

I kneaded dough.

I floured when called for and then I baked!

 

My first loaf, carefully watched over as if I were a 13 year old new babysitter responsible for another life, popped out perfectly round, tenderly toasted, and as short as two pancakes.

Behold the glory of my first loaf:

First sourdough from scratch loaf
First sourdough from scratch loaf, aka the flying Frisbee brick.

As if it were a newborn baby, I examined every inch to make sure it was healthy. Top, sides, bottom.

First sourdough loaf bottom
First sourdough loaf bottom

There was one problem. It weighed more than 5 bricks, which didn’t seem right. I cut it open:

Dense sourdough bread
Brick bread

While the outside was perfectly crunchy and the inside was soft and tender like a newborn belly, it was as dense as a black hole. We did what any normal family would do. We launched upon it and ate around the density mass. The outside tasted quite hearty. Hot and crunchy, a dab of butter sent us into eye rolling fits of delight. Then we whipped out the old man olive oil, the 4-leaf balsamic vinegar, and fresh ground Himalayan pink salt. We stirred it into a delightful dipping mouthwatering wonder of hot bread bliss part two.

The hot mess dense middle wasn’t fit for consumption. So I took it out back and used it to prop up the bottom of the blue 55-gallon emergency rain water barrel.

I bet not many bakers can say they squeezed double duty out of one loaf. My husband swore I did a great job and that I would get better each time I baked.

We shall see.

Do you have a baking story to tell? Share your baking experience or expertise in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: