Time to bake a loaf of bread by Sam Leith in Aeon Magazine is a gloriously written ode to the joy of making bread and, in particular, the time taken to make great bread. For me, sourdough is about sensing your loaf’s place in time. The thing I love about sourdough, and I’m guessing it’s the polarising thing about it, is that it’s an art as well as a science. You have to use your judgement and not blindly follow a recipe or plan. I made a rubbish loaf on Thursday and it’s actually a really positive thing because it was rubbish because I’d not given it due care and attention. And that lack of respect for my loaf meant it ended up dull and flat – in shape and in taste. What’s positive about that? Well, it’s a reminder that you’re dealing with a living thing when making sourdough and it’s not to be taken lightly.
If you live with a breadhead but don’t feel the love yourself, this article will help you to understand what’s going through our minds, at least a tiny bit.
I love to cook all sorts of things, and it’s not as if I’m indifferent to the pleasures of eating those things either. Twenty-four-hour cooked shoulder of pork? Poached eggs with asparagus? Orecchiette pasta with sausage, chilli, garlic, cream, Parmesan and tenderstem broccoli? Sign me up to that shizzle. But bread? Bread’s different. There’s something atavistic about it.