About a year ago I killed my sourdough baby that I had been nurturing for about two years. I had accidentally killed sourdough previously but this time it was on purpose. A planned murder. After I poured it the in the bin I felt immensely relieved. I had loved experimenting with different recipes using my sourdough which resulted in quite a few successful breads. However, it had become a huge stress in my life. I had to bake bread every week, or at least every other week and I had started to thing that it was silly to buy a loaf of bread from the shop.
I want to be good at everything. I want to have a successful career, have good friends, close family relationships, a beautiful home and cooking good food all from scratch. But there is just not enough time for any person to be good at everything. We all need to prioritise what’s important to us and sacrifice the things that we can live without. I started to realise how stupid it was for me to keep this sourdough going after reading this article (sorry it is in Swedish) by food writer Lotta Lundgren where she warned people, and specifically women of the slow food trend. She wrote that the reason why we dream of grandma’s old stew is because she spent her whole day in the kitchen preparing that meal. The female liberation was helped by the fact that working women also responsible of taking care of a family could save time and energy by buying ready meals. Good food is good, but sometimes we need to focus on other things in life and a ready made product might allow us to do so.
I don’t want to bake bread every week and plan my time around the rising of a dough. I also don’t want to eat bread every day and sometimes I want to buy a deliciously bad white loaf from the supermarket or a fancy sourdough bread from a baker. If baking bread is your hobby and passion you should definitely start your own sourdough, but if you start to feel any stress at all, just kill it.
I still love baking bread but only when I feel like it and when I have enough time to not feel stressed. When my sourdough was alive I used to bake a rye bread with caraway seeds from the book Artisan Bread By Jan Hedh. It was really dark from all the treacle and if you served it with honey it was more like cake than bread. I decided to make a version that did not require sourdough and here is the result. It still requires some planning and time since the rye flour is scalded to bring out the full rye and caraway flavour and make the bread moist. Eat it as open sandwiches in a classic Swedish style. It is amazing with butter and honey but also with savoury toppings.
Swedish Rye & Caraway bread
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 ½ tablespoon sea salt
500 ml water
30g melted butter
21 g dried yeast or 50 grams fresh yeast
250 ml water
½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
300g stoneground rye flour
300 g strong white bread flour
Mix the flour, salt and caraway seeds. Boil the water and pour over the mixture. Stir until blended and cover with a lid or cling film. Leave for 12-24 hours to bring out the full flavours and making the finished bread moist.
In a large bowl or standing mixes if you have one, mix the scalded rye flour mix, treacle, yeast, lukewarm water, melted butter, and vinegar. Mix until smooth then add the flours a little at a time. Save some for shaping the breads later. Knead in a machine or by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough should be quite firm. Place in a lightly oiled container and cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1.5 or ideally 2.5 hours.
Place the dough on a work surface dusted with flour and shape into 2 smooth loaves. Place the loaves in greased loaf tins, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 30-60 minutes. Heat the oven to 225 degrees. Once the breads are ready to go in lower the temperature to 175. Bake on a low shelf for 1 hour.