About a week ago, I mixed some rye flour and water together and started a sour dough bread starter. It really was as simple as that. Every day, I added some more flour and water, stirred it, poured it into a clean bowl, covered it with a towel and let it sit.
It frothed, it looked scary, it smelled rather fermented. And so forth.
After the week went by, I added more water, salt, and a lot more rye flour and made it into a dough. I hated the texture, so my daughter ended up kneading it. Rye is so different from wheat, that's for sure. It kept sticking to my hands in an unpleasant grainy way.
After she kneaded it, we had this massive lump of very dark, dense, dough. We let it sit another day.
Today she formed them into loaves and baked them. We have some very dense, very sour loaves of rye sourdough in our fridge and freezer. (I'm thinking they need to be thin sliced, then toasted with butter, a slice of tomato and some cheese. That might salvage them.)
But bread baking, for me, is like having children. I always fall in love with those loaves. I pour myself into them. I appreciate the bread I make and I want others to love it as much as I do. But these sourdough rye breads....bonding has not yet happened. I'm not in love with them. I did have a slice with cream cheese and it was dense and seemed rather nourishing, but dang, it was sour! I guess, duh, that's why it's called sourdough...ya think?
I also was not in love with the daily attention, although it really is almost as benign as feeding fish or one's worm farm. In fact, considering that sourdough is a probiotic, I was feeding the pets: microbial ones to be sure, but still...
It's a learning process, and while right at this moment I just feel like throwing in the towel on sourdough, another part of me wants to rise to the challenge and learn how to make awesome and amazing sourdough bread. Clearly there is something else that I don't know about this process, because I can't imagine an actual culture basing their cuisine around the door stops that my daughter and I produced this week.
And anyone who knows me knows that I love me some bread. I can make a mean loaf of whole wheat molases bread with baker's yeast, I can whip up biscuits like I'm in a State fair contest, and I can sure make some good European artisan style crusty bread. I'm even good at pie crust.
So, since it is my nature, I will keep trying, and someday I'll be able to blog about an excellent loaf of sourdough bread that I've made.
Meanwhile, I'll probably have to get up and make the kids some waffles in the morning. Because I KNOW they won't want that sourdough rye.