My Kitchen Skills are Messy
No one will ever confuse me for a world-famous baker. One of my favorite things about having toddlers is that I can blame the messy food, the messy crafts, the messy homemade gifts on the fact that tiny hands are creating them and not on my lack of artistic flair and ability to craft beautiful things.
Even though I’m not great at it, I love to create. There’s something about watching growth, watching something take a different form, being part of the process of change that feels soothing for me. It helps me breathe when anxiety is high and it grounds me when I feel unrooted.
Before kids, my husband and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. We baked and cooked and prepped and preserved and brewed. We were always trying new things. Post-kids, mealtime feels more like an episode of Survivor.
However, recently, I’ve found my peaceful place again with sourdough. Sourdough needs me every day, but it never screams at me, and that balance feels wonderful.
What is Sourdough?
If you haven’t experimented with sourdough, I’ll tell you it’s pretty fascinating. It grows. It bubbles. It takes up more space as the hours go by. It can be divided and shared. It can be used to make different creations.
I’m no sourdough expert, but I’ve seen a number of people taking on starters (the base of sourdough, see below) recently and want to share my favorite ways to keep and use sourdough. Maybe the visual of growth and change will be as grounding for you as it has been for me lately.
Getting Started with Sourdough
1. Create your own sourdough starter.
This is the route I took pre-kids. I enjoyed testing different combinations and finding how different temperatures, amounts, etc. impacted how the sourdough would bubble and rise. Here’s a sourdough starter recipe.
You can create your own starter with flour, water, a container for holding it and a good dose of patience. There is a science to this- whole-grain flour, non-chlorinated water, maintaining the right temperature, and again patience.
If you want to take a step out, you can also purchase a sourdough kit with everything you need to create your own starter.
2. Get a starter from a friend.
This is the route I take with two toddlers at home. I can keep the sourdough growing and alive as long as someone has made it good and strong already.
When someone has a starter, the starter grows. This means that when they want to “feed” the starter they split their starter and you can take part of that to have your own.
Keeping Your Sourdough Alive
Sourdough is similar to kids in that it needs to be fed pretty regularly to keep it going. However, the good news is, other than that the sourdough is low-maintenance. Once you have a healthy sourdough starter going, you can choose to keep it on the counter at room temperature to feed 2x/day (this is suggested when you need to create more to bake with!) or you can tuck it in your fridge for up to a week before feeding it again (for when you need to keep it alive but don’t plan to bake with it right now). You just need flour and water to keep your sourdough alive. When you “feed” the sourdough you keep ½ cup and “discard” the rest. This “discard” is what you will use to bake with while you save the ½ cup to keep growing more sourdough.
My Favorite Ways to Bake with Sourdough
You’ve probably heard of sourdough bread, and for good reason. It’s delicious. You can use your sourdough to make an amazing loaf of bread. In our house, we’ve been experimenting and right now we are team Sourdough Pancakes and Sourdough Brownies. Our next venture is attempting these sourdough pretzels.
If you’re looking for something new and fun in the kitchen, sourdough might be a great thing to try! Maybe you’re already a sourdough expert- if so, share your best tips below!