Sourdough bread is a technical mastery. One just can not make sourdough bread. Not like white sandwich bread, or brioche. Nope. This is a food of love. It needs to be cultured, nurtured into being bread.
For those who do not know, to make sourdough you need to make a sourdough starter, or a Mother. There are a plethora of recipes online for a starter. None of them are wrong, some work better for some than others. Considering altitude, weather conditions, ingredient batches. It’s all so technical. I used Paul Hollywood’s recipe for my Mother.
I started it on the January 21, and it was not ready until the 28th. I do know some bakers that have had the same Mother for years. As long as you feed it and stir it when it needs to be fed and stirred, and use it when it gets too big. I also do goofy things like talk to my Mother, and send out positive energy as I feed it. Just like I do with my dog and cat. Love, food, and more love.
I travel for work, so I taught my room mate how to take care of the Mother while I am gone. She has the easy part, she just feeds Mother. I even told her to sing to it, and she already knew to send it good vibes. After all, it is a living thing.
What I love about making sourdough bread, something so nutritious and delicious that is made simply with flour, water and time. If you have those three things, it is possible to make some of the best bread ever.
Of course I did a bunch of research, that is how I know that there are so many recipes for the Mother. The best advice I read was in an article by Emma Christensen on thekitchen.com. She gives solid advice and practical techniques to make a better loaf, not just a better bread. Fantastic article for the new baker.
If you have never made bread before, I suggest you begin baking breads with dry active yeast, in the packets. It is an exact measurement, and will make learning how to make bread easier. As you advance as a baker, then move onto cake yeasts, or the yeast in a jar that you have to measure out yourself. Then when you think you have the basic techniques down, start a mother for sourdough.
I mentioned to a cheffy friend of mine this weekend, patience is the hardest thing to learn. Keep that in mind when you decide you are ready to make sourdough bread. Nothing can be rushed. It all takes time.