Making your very own bread starter. Sourdough anyone?
After the record breaking heat wave we've had in Melbourne the last couple of weeks it finally appears to be over and done with and we can now look forward to a lovely autumn, the star of footy season (Go Blues!) and Easter (mmm chocolate).
On this Sunday afternoon, the chilliest Sunday arvo I can recall in a many a month there is nothing better than snuggling up in front of the television with my wife watching a show (Prisoner Cell Block H) and a movie (Legends of the Fall) whilst taking breaks baking a cake or two or three or four... and gently kneading some dough now and then so as we can have a lovely loaf of sourdough for breakfast tomorrow morning. Well seriously, if you're going to start another working week and in order to prevent a "case of the Mondays!", nothing kickstarts your day better than fresh sourdough, butter and jam and a cup of coffee.
I guess I've been fortunate being raised in a family that appreciates their sourdough immensely. I used to laugh and be critical of my step-dad as he would make his own starter (leaven), feed it, hug it, kiss it, and call it George.
But now I find myself being just as crazy as I'm raising my second and third children, affectionately known as Bunny and Bunny V2.
No, I'm not raising two future Playboy playmates, the two Bunny's are my starters (leavens) that I've been nurturing and feeding daily for a few weeks now of which they are forming the basis of some lovely breads and teaching me a lot about the old fashioned ways of bread baking and allowing me to indulge in my favourite type of bread, sourdough.
If you find yourself going to your local bakery and paying a lot of money for a good loaf of sourdough, I hope you can appreciate the amout of love, dedication and commitment it takes to make a great loaf of it. There have been stories of people using starters of over 50+ years of age, which is just phenomenal. We hear of people keeping wines for many a year, but that's usually just storing a bottle in a climate controlled region in the dark, whereas to keep a leaven for that long it would need quite a bit of attention and love through that amount of time.
I hope that one day when I'm long gone, I can pass the baton to my son and grand-kids and the two Bunny's will live on and be cared for by my future generations.
If you're a keen baker, or you're just someone who loves their sourdough, try making your own starter! Within 5-7 days you can have a brand new baby starter ready and a luscious, crusty, hot loaf of sourdough bread ready for breakfast.
Now check out the recipe I used to make Bunny V2, http://www.cakegasms.com/jgblog/?q=content/bread-starter-leaven