I began baking bread in 2010 when I lived in Portland, Maine.
I was very cold, very poor, and very resourceful.
I began experimenting with recipes from The Bread Baker's Apprentice, which I kept checked out from the library for the better part of a year. I began to understand principles of gluten, yeast, and fermentation. I was also able to share bread with friends, coworkers, and roommates, who in turn shared bread. These people also shared stories of sharing bread.
The way that the process of bread baking transformed a period of scarcity to an experience of sharing was not lost on me.
As it happens, I moved and lost contact with the practice due to living environments and work schedules. When I moved to Somerville with multiple roommates, I saw an opportunity once again to begin a new practice. The idea of beginning with something old to create something new was one I was very interested in and sought out a mother dough.
Sour dough is actually wild yeast bread with a local bacteria culture that is acidic. The bacteria is what creates the 'sour' flavor and is environmental. The sourdough culture I have in Somerville is going to be different from the culture anywhere else. San Francisco has what is largely considered to be the most 'sour' sour dough in the world, and this is due to many environmental factors which are beyond my inner scientist.
Caring for sour dough involves a cycle of feeding, fermenting, and building. There are many elaborate building structures which larger bakeries employ. I use a simple 3 build structure where I manipulate time, humidity, and temperature.
I mix by hand. I deliver bread to friends, family, and acquaintances regularly. This project is an attempt to share bread on a larger scale, although it certainly is a small gesture.
Share bread. It's fun.
Copyright 2016 Nicole Hogarty