The Bread Farm – a ridiculous true story

   Yesterday was one of those days when a long-ago, best-forgotten memory was triggered. And it was also a significant anniversary date of that memory.
   The trigger was a comment posted here by Sharon at Art of Gluten-Free Sourdough Baking. The anniversary was the day I went into labor with my first child – that would be Rita. The memory was the kitchen disaster I perpetrated that my own Mom cleaned up the next day describing it as ‘The Bread Farm’.
   My paternal Grandmother, she of the chickens, home grown vegetables and homemade soap, also baked her own sourdough bread. I was allowed to ‘help’ and usually had a small portion of dough allotted to me for my own creations. Grandma was always patient and she narrated each and every step of the process for my benefit.
   At home I learned to bake from recipes. I used store bought yeast just as we also used store bought eggs and store bought soap never realizing the essential differences.
   So that fateful evening Rita’s Dad and I were at home in our tiny apartment. I was restless and decided there was time to make up a batch of bread before bedtime. I mixed it up, kneaded it, and set it for the first rising on top of the stove where the pilot light would keep it warm. The utensils went into the sink for cleanup when the bread went into the oven. By then my feet hurt and my back was really aching. I stretched out in the recliner in the living room to read but mostly dozed. And I completely forgot the bread and went to bed
   In the morning the stove was covered with dough and was running down the front and one side. Across the top it had turned into a tenacious brick-like substance. After Rita’s Dad left for work I started the clean up.
   Mourning the loss of that perfectly good batch of bread I had the bright idea of salvaging it by using the remainder to start another batch. Grandma always put some of dough in a jar with additional flour and water and put it in the refrigerator until her next batch. So I carefully made up my ‘starter’ in a mason jar, screwed on the lid, and set it in the middle of the breakfast table. In the meantime I was having terrible stomach pains but that had been the story of my life (thanks to no gluten awareness at the time). I just rested across the bed between bouts of pain and in between times chiseled away at the stove. I never finished – hubby came home from work and called the doctor. We headed for the hospital.
   The next day my parents arrived, Rita and I were bonding, the stove was still doughy, the sink was full of utensils buried in an ever expanding yeast glob, the lid on the mason jar had come undone, and dough was spreading across the breakfast table.
   That was what happened the last time I attempted ‘sourdough’. While sourdough sounds like a good idea . . . . . .

Happy Birthday today, Rita!


1 Comment »

  1. Dear Mom,
    this story is too funny! I love the image of the sourdough starter creeping all over the kitchen. It just goes to show you that you are very capable of growing a living, active starter! I’m glad I triggered this fabulously funny story.


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