When we were growing up in rural Northern Canada, my sister Haidi worked at The Alpine Bakery, the town’s top bakery. Wednesday was the best day of the week because she invariably brought home my favorite loaf: the hefty Yukon Sourdough. It stood apart from the German Rye, the Ciabatta, and even the fluffy Potato bread; none of them came close to that crusty sourdough loaf with its soft interior, authentic taste and telltale holes.
The owner of the bakery always arrived earlier than everyone else to tend to his sourdough starter and get a few batches of bread mixed up and onto their first risings. No one knew the classified recipe, least of all my sister, and all attempts she and I made to duplicate the loaf at home were unsuccessful.
True sourdough is one of those things you can’t fake in the kitchen. You can substitute, as I do in this post, but the result pales in comparison to the real deal. The good news is, however, that anyone can learn to make a starter and, over time, produce genuine sourdough bread worthy of the bakery ’round the corner. [Read more...]