Food

Old New York and Homemade Sourdough Bread

By Seth Fera-Schanes

Disregard the fact there are 3 grocery stores within half a mile of my apartment.

Throw out the knowledge there are 2 bakeries, countless bodegas and Seamless ready to handle all my restaurant delivery needs.

Let’s take it back to ’79 (1879) when people were making their own food at home.

Challenge accepted.

And this challenge began on a Monday evening when I mixed a little wild yeast with a tablespoon of water and tablespoon of flour.

I continued to add to this little mixture every day, gradually increasing the amounts of flour and water.  I watched as it bubbled and grew over those next 5 days, always asking for more food.

The baking process began with a last overnight feeding on Saturday.  By Sunday, I had my ingredients, reviewed the recipe a dozen times and was ready to bake.

Add more flour – Check

Add more water – Check

Mix and let rest – Check

I was humming along, relishing in the fact that I could survive in less modern times (obviously ignoring every modern convenience that surrounded me.)

I was on step 4 of my recipe when something occurred to me.  I added up the hours for resting, folding, resting some more, folding, proofing and then finally baking.

On the minimum end it was 12 hours.  I started baking at 12:30pm.  Well, shit.  Consider my Sunday afternoon, evening and night committed to; I was now in it for the duration.

It turns out, making sourdough is a process.  One that will consume your day and yet when those 2 loaves came out of my 450 degree oven at midnight (and yes it was Summer in NYC and I lost a gallon of water weight) it was wholly satisfying.  I knocked on the bread and it sounded just like the a bakery.  I sliced off a piece and it had the air pockets, chewiness and taste of sourdough.

Would I do it again?  Absolutely.

I used a sourdough recipe from The Kitchn, which they had modified from another recipe.  It was easy to follow and one I would most definitely use again.

Sourdough in Harlem

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