Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Sourdough, Queen Jesus, and the persistence of life

In my fridge there's a horrid grey sludge in a tupperware container. I took it out this morning to throw it away.

And then thought again. It's a sourdough starter for rye bread and it's been in my fridge for years.

Sourdough is an extraordinary thing. You can use it to make bread instead of the dried yeast you buy in tins.

It's the simplest thing in the world to make. You mix flour and water and leave it in a warm place. The next day you add a bit more flour and a bit more water and so on every day for 4 or so days after which you'll see it slowly bubbling.

That means it's alive. Somehow it's picked up wild yeasts in the air. You can add it to your dough mix, keeping a bit back for your next loaf, and bake it and it'll rise and make the tastiest bread you can imagine.

It's a miracle.

The last time I used it regularly was to make Borodinsky bread for when I was performing "Jesus Queen of Heaven" in St. Mark's church during the 2014 Fringe.

That is such a lovely bread, but complicated. And sourdough is slower and sometimes a bit erratic and ever since yeast I've used tinned yeast.

I must have just shoved this in a container and put it back in the fridge.

And today, all those years later, just out of curiosity I thought I'd add more flour and water and leave it on my kitchen table.

And when I looked this afternoon it still looked pretty revolting. But had bubbles on the surface...

I'll be making rye bread soon.

And it makes me happy to think of life still persisting, in spite of everything.

We're a bit like that, too...

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