WHAT MY SOURDOUGH STARTER TAUGHT ME ABOUT THE WRITING LIFE

blog publishing writing Mar 19, 2021

I killed Jolene. 

Back from a beach holiday, I opened the fridge to find my sourdough starter had succumbed to black mould. 

As I scraped my dearly departed (and very stinky) starter out of her Bonne Maman jam jar and into the compost (the irony was not lost on me), I thought about our time together and all the beautiful loaves that Jolene had mothered. I also returned to an idea that’d been fermenting for a while: making sourdough is a lot like writing. Both take time and dedication. Both rely on a blend of precision and intuition. For both, you’ve got to commit. And even still, there will be inevitable flops (RIP Jolene).  

Like so many home bakers, I joined the sourdough brigade during my COVID hermitage. In domestic exile, I had an abundance of time and motivation (lockdown carbs cravings) to try to master this intimidating culinary art.

I used Chad Robertson’s recipe, from Tartine, a revered San Francisco bakery. Chad has revived sourdough...

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