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Nurture Nature

Earlier this year, after too many months of 'I'll get around to it' procrastination, I finally made a sourdough leaven or starter, and became a simpler, happier breadmaker, able to dispense with sugars and fats whilst making the most delightful sourdough breads. 

A spell of work away coincided with hot weather at home, and in forgetting to ask my family to nuture my leaven and keep it tended, all of the natural yeast cells died and it was starter no more. 

From scratch, the process of growing a starter is simple and straightforward. The recipe I used included a spoonful of yoghurt and a few raisins for sugar, flour and water. Each day, throwing half of the small mix to make room for more ingredients. By day five or so, the fermentation process starts, and in the space of another 48 or 72 hours, turns a gloopy, soupy mixture into a vibrant, fragrant sourdough starter that can be mixed with nothing more than flour ( 200g starter to 500g flour), water and a little salt, to make a bread that stays fresh and usable for days.

The process reminded me that you can't rush what happens in nature. It's nurture that's needed, not speed, when building new life.

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