Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The gift of food.

Posted by: Paul Gardener
A posse ad esse (From possibility to reality)

And really good food too. Really good and really versatile food. Sourdough. Yummy, tasty, sticky and stinky (in a really good way of course...) sourdough starter. After Heather did me so proud with her post about what she wanted to give, I thought I just had to chime in too. The wife and I...well, OK, let's not exaggerate, the WIFE started a sourdough start for our family about a year and a half ago and it has very quickly become one of our absolute favorite things. She takes care of it, feeds and extends it and makes the very best fluffy, tangy and tasty pancakes and waffles with it as well as very good sourdough bread. It's not a wild sourdough, in case you're a connoisseur, but rather was started from a simple recipe that contained flour, water, and a small bit of yeast as a starter. (You can find a similar recipe here.) We did originally start with a wild yeast, but found that it only got "funky" not "beery" the way it should. After a couple of tries, we went this way and have loved it. Also, after a year and a half of regular feedings where the starter is exposed to the air in our home, I have no doubt it has been hybridized with our local wild strains. It has certainly matured in flavor over the months.

But this isn't really meant to be all about sourdough, as much as I'd love to pine on about it, there are much more qualified people to do that. (That's your cue to chime in sourdough experts...) But instead it's about one of the best things in the world that we can do with sourdough to spread the love.
Share the start! I mean how better could we let someone really get a good idea of how much we enjoy our own sourdough starter than to send them home with some of it. And that's exactly what we did this weekend when A~'s dad left our house after Thanksgiving. We extended and fed the start during the week he was here, then packed up and sent him home to West Virginia with some of his own.
If you haven't had a chance, or have been afraid to try, making sourdough of your own give this simple little starter a try. It's pretty simple, easy to use, and only tastes better with age. Then, when you feel pretty stable with it, pass it on. It takes a bit of work to learn to work with, but will provide you and your friends with the security that you will always be able to produce tasty leavened foods at home no matter what.
Good luck.