My sourdough starter, affectionately referred to as ‘the bug’, has just turned 4. It’s done pretty well for a 4 year old. From its home in Oz, it has taken regular summer holidays in NZ (amazes me what quarantine do and don’t worry about), some wonderful beach weekends in Mollymook, and holidays being bug-sat with friends. It’s spawned offspring in NZ, Oz, Japan, and Malaysia (although I’m not sure how many of those survived beyond the initial excitement of the idea of fresh bread).
For the past four years, we’d settled on the pattern of hibernation (i.e. feed it and park it in the fridge) during the week, with spurts of activity on the weekend.
Production was trundling along well. Regular purchases of 5kg bags of flour serviced production demands reasonably well. There was often a bit of excess, but I’ve managed to offload the surplus to willing recipients (I count deposits of wrapped parcels on doorsteps as willing, but they may see it differently!) I love how Miss 4, from next door, boldly starts conversations with” Hey Tricks, have you got any bread for us today?” and I equally love the look of horror on her mother’s face at the bold forwardness of a girl who knows what she wants!
Prior to Christmas, a very supportive Himself tracked down a preloved Mecnosud Spiral Mixer to add to my already overstocked kitchen. The Mecnosud, with its 3 kg dry weight capacity, is a truly awesome machine that produces gorgeous silky dough in no time. With its fixed bowl, reviews suggested that cleaning is a minor inconvenience, but I have to say, it is really quick and easy (so long as you don’t make the mistake of getting distracted and leaving it to dry – sourdough is somewhat cement-like if left to dry!)
Not surprisingly, the Mecnosud is equally happy kneading my usual 2 loaf batch of dough, or a larger 6-8 loaf batch. Of course, the temptation is that bigger must be better, and given it is so easy, surely it’s worth making 6-8 loaves… What on earth do 2 people do with 6 loaves of bread??? Ridiculous! Flour now comes in 25kg sacks. Gifting increased…
And now, working from home permits me to feed, knead, prove and bake whenever it suits. I have the freedom to shape my day around other things.
One of my favourites is the simple joy of producing a loaf of sourdough bread from nothing more than flour, water, the wild yeasts that are my bug, and a dash of salt. Watching and waiting for it to rise at its own pace. Listening to the crust cracking as it settles after leaving the oven. The smell of freshly baked bread filling the house. And, as a bonus, I get to share with friends :-). Life is good.
And now, back to my other creation…
On y va!