why i’m really into baking sourdough right now04 Apr 2017
baking bread for me goes back to my gainesville catholic worker house (gcw) days (2008-2010). it was a formative part of my spiritual development and shaped my thinking about justice work.
the practice has ebbed and flowed for me over time, mostly depending on what’s going on in my life. at the gcw, baking 12 loaves of bread on friday mornings for breakfast brigade was my weekly anchor. then when i moved to the other side of town, baking and selling bread to my neighbors was important. when i moved up to boston and lived at 40 cottage, for a while, my roommate, heather, and i, would switch off baking loaves for our housemates. since then things have slowed down a lot and i bake sporadically (i went through a moment of sadness when i lost my perfectly developed no-knead loaf recipe).
since the fall of 2016, though, i’ve been really into baking sourdough bread. i got some starter from my master’s thesis advisor and have been baking bread weekly or bi-weekly since.
right now, there are a couple of reasons that it feels good and that list actually keep growing.
- as the world continues to get/stay/be crazy, making more things myself or in my community feels like resistance and also creates security. developing routines that deeply embed us in our communities reinforce our latent need for each other. it also makes it easier to notice when someone is missing or not feeling well.
- sourdough specifically doesn’t use commercial yeast (every step off the capitalist grid seems good these days.
- a great side effect of not using commercial yeast is that people who are gluten free can eat sourdough. i haven’t looked into the research on this, but obviously my intuition says that commercial yeast is the problem here. it’s meant to speed up the bread baking process. but, as with most things capitalism, the costs of the speed up seems to be our bodies. why are SO many people allergic to gluten these days? not sure if it’s related to this… but it could be.
- i get to buy a shitton of king arthur flour and they’re a (relatively - vt) local business with an employee stock ownership plan (esop). they’re also a b-corp. i’m all in on supporting coops and though king arthur isn’t a coop, esops are a pretty dope alternative model to other corporate ownership models. actually, the business is 100% employee-owned so maybe that makes it a coop? i need to get clearer on this. (side note: of course, the question still exists of how to source the flour, but one step at a time…)
- finally, the sourdough excess can be used to make all sorts of other delicious things. last week i made these dope sourdough waffles and i’m going to try these crackers and pretzels, too.
so yea. this sourdough kick i’m on right now seems like a really fantastic little encapulsation of how to keep moving towards the world i want to see and live in.
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