One of my favorite things about good recipes is the way that certain foods and smells can evoke powerful feelings and memories, inviting feelings of home and family, preserving a link between homes and hearths and generations of bakers. No food more perfectly conveys this relationship between food and emotion than homemade bread.
My grandma's rolls will always prompt memories of Thanksgiving, and Banana Bread makes me think of my mother. Nothing welcomes in the change of seasons from summer to autumn like Pumpkin Bread straight out of the oven, and Sourdough will always remind me of my dad.
And yet, even though I enjoy baking (and eating) homemade bread, it wasn't until this last week that I finally found the courage to attempt Sourdough. The very idea of creating a sourdough starter was simply intimidating. It ferments on the counter and you feed it periodically? And what if I put in all the time and effort and it doesn't pay off in the end?
But it turns out, like most baking, you just have to follow the instructions. The starter was not as intimidating as I thought it would be (and for minimal effort, I am felt pretty pleased with myself :), and the only tricks to making the bread were finding the right recipe and planning ahead.
It's the prettiest dough I've ever handled--with possibly the greatest pay-off--and the labor of love involved in preparing it will undoubtedly add to the sentiment my family will associate with its distinct flavor.
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