Sorry. When I saw the loaf of bread, my second try, that slash in the center reminded me strongly of Audrey II in “Little Shop of Horrors.”
This loaf is dense, chewy, very heavy, not as risen as I hoped. Not very much like my commercial yeast loaves. It did smell great as it baked and it does taste pretty good. But, My third try is autolysing as I write this.
So, what happened here? I did not follow the suggested, very precise recipe amounts. After all, I’ve been making bread for a very long time; I know what a bread dough is supposed to look like. Right? Well, this was humbling. I went back to the internet for more tutoring. Ah, I didn’t scroll down far enough. There it is, the perfect combo in grams of everything to put in the bowl first. Yay! I’ll give it a try.
I like to learn new things and especially things that transfer to learning other new things or perfecting skills that I’ve only half learned to that point and so on. For example: learning patience as I perfected my glass-working skill sets (subtle and profound) became a skill (yes, for me , patience was and continues to be a learned skill) that transfers to many other aspects of my life. Come to think of it, patience is included in just about every skill set I’ve acquired in my life – customer service, natural and cultural history interpretation, cooking eggs and so on.
Preparing and baking sourdough bread is all about the bread. There may be transferable skills that are being learned in acquiring the skill set of making sourdough bread (I will know them in the fullness of time), but what I am seeing most strongly is that I need to apply universal skills that have been learned in other ways to reach the desired level of expertise I am seeking. Maybe that’s what my unwitting mentors mean when they say sourdough bread is the “holy grail” of bread-making. Maybe what I will learn is that there is only the making of sourdough bread and no further to go, nothing that is transferred to other tasks. Uh oh, there’s the Buddha floating in light above my eyes as I feel my mortality looming just ahead. Enlightenment is a perfect loaf of sourdough bread.