In this hectic world, there’s nothing I love more than to lose myself in making sourdough bread. One of the first things I’ve learnt about wild yeast, is that you can’t hurry it. You can’t ask the bread to proof faster because you have a deadline or a friend coming over, because you have to be somewhere, to run an errand or finish up with your home chores. This is the type of bread that humbles you, that teaches you how to wait and, in the end, after you’ve sacrificed yourself to it, you find that it has given you the best gift of all: freedom. Not only from the tyranny of store-bought-chemical-yeast bread, but mostly from yourself, from the things you think are important to you but are actually not. For what’s more important in life then the time we allocate to our inner self, to watching things grow, what’s more important than hearing that inner clock beating to the rhythm of a timeless bread romance?
Sourdough bread shouldn’t be taken too lightly, but also not too seriously. I’m not the type of artisan baker that strives for perfection, for that flawless crust or crumb. What I seek is a reflection of me, a product made by my hands, in my home, in my oven, one that is clean and loved from even before it was born. Our forefathers used to make sourdough bread without precise electronic scales or proofing chambers with controlled temperature and I simply want to be more like them. I want to make bread by instinct, learn from my mistakes and not punish myself too much for them. Of course, a certain rigor is mandatory, but what I’m saying is that I prefer to situate myself somewhere on a blurred line :)
My favorite sourdough bread is packed with seeds. Sunflower, nigella, caraway, fennel, pumpkin, sesame, linen. I feel their nourishing power, I feel how they enhance me, how they better me. It’s a dense, extremely aromatic bread, friendly with my hands when folding and shaping. It’s kind to the heart and lack of experience of a beginner, it rewards the timid baker with splendid results and incredible flavors. Did I make you love it already? I hope I did, it’s a deserving bread.
I borrowed this recipe from my favorite baker in the whole world, Codruta, one of the most talented and passionate artisan bakers I know. I must warn you though that this recipe is more for the sourdough baker enthusiast, because it does not go into the details of how to make a starter, how to shape or how to bake sourdough bread. That is such a long process and involves so many explanations that I prefer to do it in another, more detailed post…
Every time I make this bread I can hardly wait to taste it. I know I have to wait until it cools down, or I’ll ruin it, but sometimes it’s too hard of a challenge. The smell is so penetrating, so inviting! I love to spread it with butter and jam and just enjoy it like that, in its pureness, in its simplicity: after all, it’s just bread. Add some compote or a cup of tea and that’s all I need in the world. Of course, on lazy week-ends I like to show off with some fancy omelette packed with veggies and whatnot. Can’t blame me, can you?
Love and sourdough bread!