A Sourdough’s Journey from Down Under to Jordan- Priscilla the Beast
One of the most striking things about blogging has been connecting with wonderful people across the globe. Food requires patience and a certain passion that perhaps drove those bloggers to write in the first place. We meet whenever we have the chance to. It is a long life friendship, I hope.
One also learns the value of time when creating food items from scratch. Making red wine vinegar required 40 days of waiting- turning grapes into the solution. You realise how fast we consume and how easy it is to purchase and pick stuff from shelves as opposed to making them in season and learning valuable lessons along the way.
I have also learnt a great deal from master baker Celia- at Fig Jam Lime Cordial. Celia sent me her dried sourdough yeast one year ago- Just like she has sent it to 150 people across the globe. It took almost two months to receive, not least because it’s flown from Australia but rather of possible suspicious personnels at Jordanian customs. I could imagine them flipping/examining those little white bits of yeast placed perfectly in sealed plastics. She had to send me another batch after six weeks of not receiving the first lot-
We patiently anticipated the yeast’s arrival and came to accept that it may never get through customs. But it did! – Our visitor was able to travel all this distance and get through our rigid tribal inspection. I kept her securely tucked in the fridge for a year and this December I decided it was time to play with dough. The dried yeast needs to be activated with feeds of bread flour and water over three days. Every time my six year old Salma asked me what I was doing I would reply ‘we are awakening the beast’. It is now called ‘beast’ upon Celia’s insistence on giving it a name. We gently kept feeding her with water and bread flour and after 48-72 hours it finally awoke!.
We are having fun ‘keeping it alive’ and baking from it every few days. The process becomes mechanical and familiar. Sourdough is gentler on the stomach than store bought flour. Here are the instructions on how to make a sourdough loaf. I have gone a step further and used Celia’s high hydration sourdough recipe as wanted more air pockets and a more rusty loaf. I leave you with Celia’s own words about her yeast;
“I suspect that if we left a bowl of flour and water on the bench, the essence of Priscilla would seep out from the nooks and crannies and bring it to a bubble like the witches’ cauldron in Macbeth”. If you have not made your own bread, I recommend that you do. There is something to be said about using one’s own flour and ingredients and therefore, making much better choices/knowing what you are eating. It is a much simpler process than anticipated-Enjoy and Bon Appetit.