After you’ve been baking sourdough bread for a while, certain questions tend to come up. Should you deviate from recipes? When and how? Could you turn your sourdough hobby into a business? What’s involved? Where do you go from here? So consider the following Q + A as your chance to get answers. Here’s what four experienced sourdough bakers would tell you!
All across America (and Canada!) there are home and professional bakers who have been measuring ingredients, slapping dough and testing sourdough bread recipes for years. Some of them are baking purely for pleasure, some teach classes, some develop recipes and some have dedicated followings online. Thanks to their experience, though, they offer a treasure trove of valuable information for the new or growing baker!
If you’re still on the fence about trying to bake sourdough, check out the following Q + A. Almost none of the five (update: make it six!) women featured in it were keeping a starter this time last year, and yet now they’re using words like “magical,” “miracle” and “fun.” Come read and see.
What would new sourdough bread bakers across America have to tell you about entering the world of naturally leavened bread? This past week, thanks to six voluntary interview participants, I got to find out.
According to Google search data, people have a lot of questions about chia seeds. On the rise in the last 12 months are queries such as: “Do chia seeds burn fat?” “Are they keto?” “Can you give them to babies?” “Can you eat them raw?” If you’re like most people, you already get that they’re good for you and, if you’re like 75% of Instagram survey respondents, probably keep them on hand. But what’s the skinny on the rest of it? Here’s a look.
The message is out. Everybody’s aware: chia seeds are packed with fiber, Omega-3s, antioxidants and other essential nutrients. In fact, in an Instagram poll this week, 92% of survey participants who eat chia say this is why. Touted as everything from a superfood to a nutritional powerhouse, chia seeds today are hip enough to star on upscale restaurant menus, yet common enough to find in the local grocery store.
Published this past November, the cookbook “Extra Helping: Recipes for Caring, Connecting & Building Community One Dish at a Time” is an artfully illustrated paperback with a simple goal: to give you real tools for responding to the “endless opportunities to hone the craft of feeding those too taxed to feed themselves,” along with “the art of gratefully receiving this attention” in those situations when the person who is too taxed is under your roof–or you. Food, Elsbach says, is one of the most foundational and meaningful ways to help one another. In this book, she shows how.
According to Janet Reich Elsbach, Massachusetts-based author of the recently published cookbook, “Extra Helping: Recipes for Caring, Connecting & Building Community One Dish at a Time,” caring for people with food is essentially the same as caring for people in any other way. Whether someone’s just brought home a new baby or is grieving the sudden loss of a spouse, to be able to offer the kind of help that is truly help, what’s required is less cooking skills, more listening skills.
In other words, what you need to know is how to be curious.
The following is the second of what hopefully becomes a regular, infrequent series on this site: personal essays relating to food or writing themes. If you are a writer and would like to submit a contribution, contact me. Or, if this is not your thing, visit the home page for what else is new!
I started food blogging in 2008. The original site where I wrote got sold in 2017 and has since been repurposed, but I can remember the archives via the Internet’s Way Back Machine—and yesterday I did. I was 25 when I started the blog, a year out of grad school. My day job was boring, I read food blogs for fun and I was trying to learn to write another way. The blog was practice.