I have a confession to make. I’ve never really liked summer all that much. Growing up in the Deep South, any joy I felt from being out of school was quickly overshadowed by oppressive heat, suffocating humidity, ferocious mosquitoes, and encroaching boredom.
This summer has been different, though. It’s as if my Dear Father knew just how sincerely I desired respite and recuperation in anticipation of my second year of medical school. In addition to long, lazy days spent with my Mister, the weather even acquiesced to my most impossible hope – bearability. Maybe that’s not actually a word, but I like it.
My Mister and I have read new books together, watched movies (complete with popcorn!), gone to the local Farmers Market (nothing like home-grown peaches, local honey, and fresh roasted coffee!), brewed countless pots of French press coffee and tea, stayed up late having boisterous conversations with new and dear friends, and cooked and baked and baked some more.
We even got a pet – well, we call it our pet. It’s sourdough starter from my grandmother. She gave it to us on our way home from our honeymoon. It’s become a part of our family and we take great pride in feeding it and baking loaves of delicious, fragrant bread. We even named him Fitzgerald (we call him Fitz.)
School starts again for me in just a few short days and I’ve been stocking our freezer and pantry like I’m preparing for a hurricane to make landfall. This year won’t be an easy one, for sure, but with my sweet Mister (and some fresh baked bread from Fitz,) it’ll be a good one.
If you can get a jar of starter from a friend, by all means do, but if that’s not an option for you, you can make your own.
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 cup starter
- 6 cups bread flour (you can use all-purpose if you’re out of bread flour)
Mix all ingredients and knead until dough is smooth and elastic. It will be a little sticky – that’s ok. Grease a large bowl with oil. Put dough in and turn over so oil is on top. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let set for 12 hours. Do not refrigerate dough. After dough has set, punch it down and knead a little. Divide into three parts and knead each part 8-10 times on a floured surface. Shape into loaves and place in greased pans. Grease the top of each loaf, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 12 hours. Bake 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees. Brush loaves with butter.
Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread: Make bread following directions above, but substitute two cups of bread flour with two cups of whole-wheat flour.