Back to the Beginning…

No mixing or molding or baking today. Just unveiling the sourdough starter, allowing it to breathe…

We were welcomed again with open arms. My brothers and I have arrived back in Les Aldudes, a Basque village of 360 people tucked in the Pyrenees mountains that separate France and Spain. This is the village where my great, great grandfather was born. I am writing today from the house in which he lived for those short fifteen years before he ventured to the new world. And though 100 years have passed, the people of this place always treat us as though we’ve only been gone a few years, and that we’ve finally returned to the land and air that was partially made for us.

The church bells just chimed six. I also heard them at four and at five. Who needs sleep! I am anxious for the sun. Yesterday, as we drove into the valley at dusk, we marveled at the autumn colors–the deep rust of the sleeping ferns. The yellow and oranges and some still green leaves that painted the mountains. And the three of us, my older brother, John, and my younger brother, Charlie, couldn’t stop our gushing.

I am so grateful for this home away from home…

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Starting with the starter

It’s a glorious Sunday morning, and I’m trying not to be intimidated by this blog. The accessories and options are endless. I have no idea what a css or trackback or a pingback is. As much as I love learning new languages, this web-language doesn’t seem quite as romantic as, say, learning Romanian.

But where was I. It’s Sunday.  And though today I won’t be baking, I will be freshening my starter so I can bake like a mad woman tomorrow.

I’m terrible at keeping starters going, and every now and then I kill mine and have to run to my brother to get a new one. He doesn’t kill his starter–ever. That starter is the one that came across the Pyrenees mountains, carried in a rucksack, traveled by boat over the ocean, then hopped a train to California in the late 1800’s and has been present in thousands, maybe millions of loaves of sourdough bread. I ate a lot of that sourdough growing up…

Anyway, I’m not going to kill my starter today. Not right now, when I’m trying to be good, trying to launch this new blog! I’m going to feed it some flour, and water, and say nice things to it. I’m going to leave the cover off while I go to church so it can soak up some of the yeasties floating around my kitchen.

And tomorrow, I’m baking bread. I’m baking sourdough.Sourdough starter--lovely Any takers?