Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thoughts On Sourdough And Also Life

 First in the post are thoughts about sourdough; second are thoughts about life.
  • Only do it if you can work out a 12 hour schedule, really. 
  • Keep track of your volumes.
  • Read up on it. Even if following a very informative site's instructions gets you a nasty layer of hooch and some foul-smelling goop, you'll know a little bit more about sourdough than you did before. Mike's site, which did in fact yield foul goop and lots of hooch, had lots of extremely interesting information about how sourdough works while Mihl's site, which had some very nice pictures and instructions that almost worked for me, had very little information about why her methods might work.
  • Don't let failure totally discourage you.
At this point in my personal baking journey, everything I do is exponentially increasing my experience and knowledge. I've baked two loaves of bread and one batch of dinner rolls, as well as three kinds of quickbread and three kinds of cookies with my own ingredients and recipes. I've taken a stab at exactly one souffle-like thing. In thirty years, making sourdough might be old hat for me, but it'll only get that way if I give it a shot now. Even if it fails miserably five times in a row, I'll have a funny story and a solid way of doing it when I finally get it right. "Right" might mean going to the bakery down the street and getting starter because I don't have the time/inclination/environment for making starter from scratch. I have high hopes of obtaining a starter, the remnants of which are used to make a new starter, the remnants of which are used to make another new starter, and so on, for years. I love the idea of sourdough. It would actually almost be cooler if I go to the bakery down the street and pick up some of their fancy (i.e. established, proven to work) starter, if they have any to share. Sourdough has history, and I love things that have history. It speaks of tradition and frugality and friendship, things that I value. I want to do things the way that I've done them for years and have houseplants that I got in college be really old and gnarly. I want to have a weird assortment of dishes and utensils that I've collected over the years and that remind me of friends I've lived with, bummed rides to the thrift store off of, or forgotten to return plates to. I want a chair that's in a state of permanent dibs.
I kind of want to go straight from being a uni student to being a grandma. I'll have a tea shop in a sketchy little building and live above the store and sell tea and books and yarn and bake myself sourdough and have a cat and maybe a husband, and kids can look forward to coming and baking with grandma, or knitting with grandma, or having tea with grandma, or reading with grandma... Yeah. I'm not horribly excited about motherhood and growing up and getting a real job, but if I could skip ahead to being a cool old person who's seen a lot of the world and done a lot of cool things in her life, I wouldn't mind that.
I guess I'll just have to be the sort of person who's happy with the way she is and does her part to make the world a little more awesome until then. I'll do my damndest to love life with all its quirks and foibles, and I'll try to help other people love their lives, too.

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