Puffer coat? Yep. Phone charger? Mhm. Heart full of sister love? Check. Tupperware of sourdough starter? Yeah, ya heard me. Nonstop from my sister’s Brooklyn kitchen to San Francisco, CA.
Even with some volatile environmental shifts—the altitude of the flight, a jostled checked bag, and four time zone changes—my little starter was nursed back into a hungry and growing creature (more like a flour-eating monster!) within a week.
We have a lot in common with bread, you and me. There’s grit and resilience from the beginning. Simple ingredients they may be, it’s an overwhelmingly complex and nuanced journey to the other side. Life happens to bread too, I guess!
It really is a miracle that three ingredients (water, flour, and salt) can manifest into a life-supporting food staple that not only tastes like heaven in our mouths, but creates jobs, runs social gatherings, pairs nicely with just about any type of cheese, and can console any human emotion to ever exist. In Egypt, the word bread actually means “life.” Likely not lost on many of you is that Jesus calls himself the Bread of Life (John 6:35) and that bread is a meaningful thread woven throughout the Bible.
So why did bread get kicked to the curb? I think it starts with eating the wrong bread, or avoiding bread altogether. The beauty in Tartine’s recipe is that it’s as clean as a whistle and easy on the gut (GF friends, sourdough is a safe option for us!). If you’ve ever projected onto bread, you’re not alone. I’m guilty of avoiding bread for my own reasons, mostly to accommodate my gluten-free diet or to opt for something that will keep me full longer. My preferences may not change much, but I am reconsidering my relationship to bread. Stay tuned as I experiment and improve my breadcraft and enjoy in moderation the wholesome and healing goodness of a food that I believe really does bring life.
Until the next bake!
First bake flying solo, from my sister’s starter:
PS If you want to geek out further on why bread is the coolest, Michael Pollan’s “Air” episode on the Netflix documentary Cooked will probably quench your interest. xx