Baking Is Easy — If You Follow The Recipe!

, , , , , | Related | April 27, 2020

My husband and I enjoy baking as a hobby and decide it’s time we learned to make sourdough bread. Over the winter holidays, we’re gifted some starter — basically a mixture of fermented flour and water — from my father-in-law that he has been maintaining for at least two decades, despite not actually baking bread that often.

We dive right into bread-making, and while our first attempts turn out far from perfect, we have fun experimenting with different recipes and showing off the results to my in-laws.

Every time we talk about it, my father-in-law laments that he’s never been able to get the hang of sourdough and that his bread never turns out right. We tell him what we’ve been learning, and we give a few website and recipe recommendations, but on he goes with his “It never works for me” attitude.

Fast forward a few months, and he asks us for our favorite recipe so he can make some bread for Easter, on the day before Easter. If you’re unfamiliar with sourdough, it takes much longer than bread risen with commercial yeast, and you often start it at least a day ahead of time, depending on how “active” your starter is.

Again, the man has had a sourdough starter for literal decades but seems to have very little idea of how the timing works. We manage to find a recipe that can be done in one day and send it along.

Due to the health crisis, we don’t gather in person for Easter, but we text and video call and ask how the bread is going. The picture sent is… interesting. The dough doesn’t look like it’s risen, and it’s cracked on top and looks dry like it wasn’t covered. We ask what recipe he used.

My father-in-law explains, “Oh, I didn’t have time, so I just winged it. Didn’t really use any measurements or directions.”

And he wonders why his bread never turns out?

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