First-Time Sourdough Bread Fail

I finally dove into the deep end of sourdough baking. After a literal month of maintaining a starter but not baking anything, I realized i will never learn to swim (bake) if I stay in the safety of the shallow water. This also applies to every area of my life that I am currently white-knuckling my floaties in 3 feet side of the pool. Take a chance and just go deeper already!

As a hands-on learner I was denying myself the creativity of bread-making and the joy of being an amateur, learning as she goes!

**Side note: I have been reading Annie F. Downs’ new book “That Sounds Fun” this summer. Y’all, the permission to be an amateur is something I didn’t know I needed! I highly recommend picking this book up and then diving all the way into whatever sounds fun to you! **

Last week I ordered a food scale and a sourdough recipe book deciding that it’s now or never. On Thursday the book arrived. During nap/quiet time, I settled next to my daughter in her bed and began flipping through the various recipes. Panic set in as I saw terms I didn’t know and a hundred steps for one single loaf (okay, maybe not that many but it felt like it.) I heard the all-too-familiar voice of doubt whispering that I would never figure this out. This is too hard. Stick to buying the $0.80 loaf of bread at Walmart. Blah. Blah. Blah. I closed the book and for a moment believed the lies and let the lack of confidence overcome me.

Then I decided absolutely not! I am going to figure this out if it takes 100 loads of bread to get it right! Hopefully it only takes a couple, though!

Friday morning at 8 A.M, I fed my starter, gathered my bowl, scale and book and set them on the counter. It’s ok to be an amateur. It’s ok to fail. Keep learning, keep going.

Book open, ingredients mixed and started the 3 hours of stretch-and-folds with the dough. This is literally an all-day process! The dough was finally ready around 8:30 at night and needed another hour to rest before being popped in the fridge overnight.

Here is where I messed up. I was so tired that I forgot to read over the instructions on shaping the dough, placing it on a tea towel in the bowl and covering with plastic wrap. I did none of that except covering the bowl with the tea towel and chucking it into the fridge. It was a little dried out on top and I struggled to get the sticky dough out of the bowl…but I preheated the oven, anyway, determined to see what happens.

40 minutes later…we had bread!

It was a little too dense and didn’t rise a whole lot (I think my starter was too weak), but the flavor was delicious! We ate the whole little loaf in a day! I wanted to be bummed about failing on my first try but that is not what we do anymore. We’re allowing ourselves to fail, try again and have fun learning!

This week I’m going to attempt sourdough loaf number 2, paying more attention to the directions and building a stronger starter beforehand! I hope, if nothing else, this post encourages you to go learn something new, be an amateur and just have fun this week!

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