(Chuck) I am not experienced with gourmet dining. My food needs have been centered around stopping a tractor, combine or a windrower to fill with fuel and grab a sandwich and get back to the field. Food was a necessity; not a reason to stop for a meal. This is my culinary background, a bit basic, but it is me.
So fast forward to our present lifestyle and somehow I have been challenged with Sourdough Bread. Last spring on our way to Alaska my sister Jackie gave us a starter which we put in the fridge and soon killed. I felt bad about losing that starter and while shopping at Fry’s Grocery in Yuma I picked up a loaf of Sourdough. We both liked it and soon I was dreaming of making bread and saving all of that money on groceries. I found an easy recipe on line and quickly had a starter bubbling on the counter. I sort of followed the instructions and soon created my own loaf of Sourdough Bread. At the same time, I was talking with my friend Loren about making bread because he has good experience in bread making. He was at our rig playing Pegs and Jokers that day and I proudly cut him a sample from the loaf and asked him for his opinion. Loren chewed the piece for quite a while and said “Do you want my honest opinion?” That made me smile as I now knew the answer. He let me down easy and told me that it was just white bread and did not have the Sourdough taste or texture, the crumb was poor and it did not rise properly. I love Loren. The next day he told me that he had mentioned Sourdough to our friend John and John would be bringing a present when he came to the desert to be with us. Loren has since renewed his interest and is also baking bread.
John is not just another pretty face with a brilliant mind. He is also a gourmet cook. He arrived with his precious jar of starter which is the great grandson of the first loaf of sourdough bread from San Francisco. Soon I had better instructions on the care and feeding of starter. The first loaf did not raise as expected, but I have been adjusting the temperature of the sponge and proof of the loaf by using the pilot light of the oven and cracking the oven door about an inch. That seems to provide the expected 70 to 80 degree environment for the raise. We had great success on the last loaf and I got the thumbs up from both John and Loren. It was a good day.