Dear Kitchen Saints,
Oh Glory. Lately I am having so much fun in my kitchen making sour dough. You basically are making your own homemade yeast to put in your bread in place of the regular yeast. I don’t use a bread machine of course, although I guess it would be nice for a small family that just eats a loaf every few days.
Ya know, back in the old days with my six children? One day it dawned upon me, “Hey, guess what Connie. You can’t feed these kids like other folks feed their kids from the grocery store. You had better have some major tricks up your sleeve.” So I learned to make my kitchen to be like the old time mothers used to have theirs.
I had a special place in my kitchen where I made yogurt over a hot air register. I put a little stand over the top of the register. I used the yogurt for sour cream in cooking and for buttermilk. I used it to make salad dressings and vegetable dips. Of course, the old time mothers would have used the coolest part of their woodstove to make yogurt, but the idea is the same.
The mothers were like scientists figuring out where the best cultures would grow where. When the ladies come to my house they ask me, “So Connie, whatcha got growing here in this jar?” Well, I have Kumbacha tea in one jar and various other things growing in other jars. You don’t want to know. Usually these jars are in obscure places out of sight, usually in warm dark places, but the ladies love looking in corners and finding things they wish they hadn’t found.
But lately I am having a ball making sour dough starter. All the books would say to make your starter with something boring like a cup of water and a cup of flour and a little bread yeast, and a bit of sugar … Put it in a quart jar… Well, the quart jar idea was what was stunting my creative growth.
Now I have out a big gallon jar and I am having a good time with this. I am happily throwing all sorts of things in this jar that I know will make the yeast grow. I mean, that poor yeast needs more than flour and water to grow. Lately I threw in potato water and that will make it grow.
I grew up in my homemaking by reading Carla Emery’s Old Fashioned Recipe Book. She really taught me to be free in my cooking and how to make things from what you have on hand. I will say, though, that I am maybe a more free spirit than she was concerning sour dough. Carla Emery WAS a Christian, and her book is good. But now, trust me, she has backslidden. So if you look up this book on the internet you will see that she has gotten into new age and all sorts of devilry. But she was a wonderful wife and mother when she wrote her recipe book back in the 1970s. I do recommend this book to you. Maybe you could ask for it for Christmas. This is how I got mine one year.
When Mothers tell me that they can’t get their bread to rise, I always tell them ‘Well, ya didn’t love it enough.” Our bread will take on the atmosphere around it. It does grow from live yeasts in the air and, especially, when you are growing your own yeast in making sour dough. So make sure the air is full of love and domestic joy when you make bread.
A happy home will make a light and joyful loaf of bread.