Today, I baked my first sourdough bread. There will be other sourdough babies in the future, but this one will always be special because it’s my first. The crust may be butt-ugly, but the crumb was alright. The flavor is there. Overall, it wasn’t bad at all.
I have an idea of the things that I can improve on next time. I need to really plan out my baking schedule, I need to be more gentle but confident in handling the dough, I need to be more decisive with the lame, and I have some ideas of things to change about how I cook it in the oven. Most of all, I need to loosen up and enjoy the process. I’ve always been intimidated with baking, and I considered bread-making to be way out of my reach. I need to relax and not be so afraid to make mistakes. I need to enjoy the learning process and just take whatever I can from the experience. The whole process is simple enough but takes a lot of time. It doesn’t take all of your time, though. Mostly, after all the stretching and pulling, it’s a lot of waiting. The fermentation process actually does all the heavy lifting for me.
I wasn’t sure about using whole wheat flour at first because I’ve had whole wheat bread before and I don’t really like it. Then again, I realized that I only ate store-bought whole wheat anything. I knew why it was the healthier option, and to eat healthier is the main reason why I wanted to learn how to make bread in the first place.
I made a rookie mistake and cut into the bread way too soon, making the texture a bit gummier than it should be. I made a mental note to really wait next time. Even if the bread is not perfect at all, the flavor was good. It was complex and the more you chew on it, the more the flavor develops in your mouth. I tasted a bit of sour notes, some salt, some of the yeast-y flavor that reminded me of beer, and wheat. Surprisingly, whole wheat did not taste bad at all. It tasted nothing like store-bought wheat bread.
I made some veggie omelette us at home, and toasted the bread in butter. I had mine with coffee. My husband finished most of the loaf off, happily tearing away at it and mopping up some balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
There was a time when bread was considered bread only if it was made with three ingredients: flour, water, salt. The industrialization of farming and, by extension, food manufacturing meant that all the good stuff was removed from wheat to make it more white. Then vitamins and minerals are added back chemically. Bread isn’t really bread anymore, in the same way that many of the food we eat today are so over-processed, they aren’t really food anymore.
Today I baked my own bread, and it was fun. I look forward to doing it more regularly and learning more things along the way.