I acquired my sourdough starter just over two years ago. I was moved to get myself a bit of natural yeast thanks a cooking challenge laid down by Tara Austen Weaver on her blog, Tea and Cookies. I’d always been interested in learning more about how bread baking worked the old fashioned way and it seemed like just the opportunity to give it a shot.
A friend gave me a bit of her starter and I began to feed it and bake with it. Thing was, I never quite got the hang of sourdough. I baked a couple successful loaves and made some good waffles, but had more clunkers than successes. I obsessively read blog posts and recipes from other bakers and it still never entirely clicked for me.
I had a vague inkling that my desire to add as much whole grain flours as possible caused some of my issues and that success would come with more practice. Sadly instead of persevering, I tucked some of the starter away in the fridge and just pull it out occasionally for a quick feeding to ensure it doesn’t die.
Happily, a new book landed in my mailbox recently that has given me hope that I am not destined to be a sourdough loser for all time. Baking Sourdough Bread has a number of recipes for breads, buns, and crackers that are clear and prescribed. This is not a book that waxes poetic about the beauty of sourdough. It spells out a simple recipe and tells you to get to work. It also includes a number of recipes that utilize sweets, treats, and whole grains, which pleases me.
If you’ve been similarly perplexed by sourdough baking and need something a little more basic than Tartine Bread, this book is refreshingly straight forward. I am happy to add it to my bookshelf.