I can never pass up a great loaf of bread, especially if it’s leavened only by using sourdough culture. In Colorado, there were a few places (Denver and Boulder) that I liked to buy bread from. In Arizona, a couple of places (Bisbee and Tucson) had some amazing breads. Now here in Georgia, I’ve found bread that I love in Athens. It’s a bit of a trek for me, since we live in Augusta, so I finally decided that I should just start making my own sourdough leavened bread.
One day in October of 2013, I mentioned on my Facebook page that I was finally serious about baking sourdough leavened bread. My friend Juliette, owner and baker of Guadalupe Baking Company, kindly offered to send me some of her dehydrated sourdough starter. I quickly messaged her because YES, I wanted some. She lives in Bisbee, Arizona which is one of my favorite small quirky towns that I’ve been to. I met Juliette at the Sierra Vista, Arizona farmers’ market and I bought bread from her weekly. Both David and I enjoyed all of her breads immensely. When Juliette informed me that her starter was 20 years old, I was impressed and really excited to receive it.
I was very nervous when I was rehydrating the starter and I followed Juliette’s instructions very closely, even after the first few times of feeding the starter flour and water. As I was trying to psych myself into attempting my first loaf, I made pancakes, waffles, pecan sweet rolls, biscuits, quick breads, bagels, focaccia, and crumpets. A friend of mine suggested that I name my starter, so I decided to call it (her) Brava.
I won’t go into details about my baking successes and failures so far in this blog post, but I do want to share some photos of what I’ve been able to bake with this incredibly robust starter. I now try to bake at least once a week, sometimes more if I know I can give some away, and I’ve managed to figure out a routine so that I won’t need to stuff my freezer full of breads and treats that D and I cannot finish. I’ve also gifted a little of Brava away, and I’m hoping that person is having as much fun as I am.
This whole process of creating a loaf of bread has been a greatly educational experience for me. It’s exciting, frustrating, and satisfying all at once. I’m still trying to make what I consider my idea of a perfect bread (especially a more open crumb), but I know that it will just take some time and patience. At least I can say that the bread that I do bake, tastes good and I don’t have to depend on buying our weekly bread anymore. I’m not saying that I’ll pass up amazing bread if I do come across it, because that would be crazy.